All is well in Collinsville.
That is what the sophomore-to-be tailback Alex Collins said Tuesday to dispel the rumors that sprung up out of nowhere earlier this spring that hinted he was unhappy and considering a transfer.
"I had no idea about that," Collins said of the rumors. "I love it here. When I came here on my official visit, it was a part of what I wanted to see. I fell in love with the campus, the people and the environment. That is really why I made my decision to come here.
"I could have stayed home in Florida, I could have went anywhere," Collins added. "But it was just a big deal to find out where I really want to be. I had to make sure before I made my decision."
Perhaps the rumors where sparked by both he and fellow tailback Jonathan Williams being benched for a half against Mississippi State for getting to a meeting late.
Or it could have been Collins having to work out away from the team and alone with strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert for a week as head coach Bret Bielema refocused him.
But what the rumors didn't take into account is just how happy Collins is in Fayetteville and how he enjoys going to youth sporting events to encourage those young athletes and even helping out adults who might be feeling down.
"It was just a big part of my life growing up, having people encourage me to keep working hard and going through what I have gone through," Collins said. "Now that I am here, I just want to be a big encouragement to kids coming up now.
"I just try to do my part to help people who are down and encourage them," Collins added. "I like to be there just to help people get going."
Collins rushed for a team-high 1,026 yards and four touchdowns last season while earning Freshman All-American honors and was tabbed the SEC's top freshman and did so while around 195 pounds.
He's carrying around 216 pounds this spring, but feels it is all good weight.
"You always worry about gaining weight just to see how it will be," Collins said. "You want to put on the right weight. I have been working hard with Coach Herbert and I have gained a lot of weight from last season, but I haven't lost a step – which I was originally worried about.
"If it had slowed me down, then I would have had to cut it off, but I feel good about it," Collins added. "I am more powerful, I am stronger and I've still got breakaway speed."
The backfield of Collins, Williams, Korliss Marshall and Kody Walker will all be on display in Arkansas' Red-White game on Saturday at 1 p.m.
"I want all of the running backs to move forward," Collins said. "We have all been working hard to get better as a group and make up for mistakes that we made over the course of spring ball. This Saturday, I just expect everybody to be on top of their game and for the offense to move forward."
Collins, who became the first freshman in SEC history to rush for over 100 yards in each of his first three games, had specific things he wanted to get better at during the off-season.
"I just wanted to improve, wanted to get better at pass protection, running hard, getting extra yards after contact and that is what I am trying to improve on – just being more physical," Collins said. "I want to run more downhill and break more tackles."
He knows that fans have questions about this season because of last season's 3-9 mark.
"I just want to show the fans what to expect next fall," Collins said. "I know there are a lot of questions about that because of last year. But we have gotten a lot better and we have made up for the mistakes that we made and I can just see us being a great team.
"So I just want this Saturday to be an eye opener for all the fans for anybody that is doubting us – just an eye opener for them so they know we are going to have a good team this fall," Collins added.
All Is Well In Collinsville
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