When Arkansas sophomore tailback Korliss Marshall watches shows such as ESPN’s College Football Live or reads a preseason magazine, the talk is always about the Razorbacks having two great tailbacks.
Marshall plans to let the college football world know there are actually three – Jonathan Williams, Alex Collins and himself.
“It really is a motivating factor," Marshall said. "I use that to motivate myself everyday. A lot of people are not looking for me. I'm planning to shock the world this year as well as the other two running backs that are back there with me."
Marshall – up from 188 pounds on his arrival from campus to 205 – is sure there are plenty enough footballs to go around for the three play-makers.
“I am sure there will be enough footballs to go around for us three,” Marshall said. “None of us have ever really complained about limited carries or anything of that sort. We just want to see each other get better.
“I would say that everybody has basically a quality that someone lacks and that is something that we have begin to work on.”
Marshall talked about how all three bring different strengths to the table.
“I would say Alex is the vision, cut guy," Marshall said. "I have never seen anyone with the vision he has. Jonathan is just strong. I have never seen anyone run with the strength and intensity that he ran with. I'm just the speed guy.....north and south."
Marshall talked in the spring about wanting to be 215 when he went into fall drills.
“It is so hard for me to gain weight because I have a high metabolism so I have to eat twice as much and hydrate just as much,” Marshall said. “But before the season starts I plan to be 215, but if not I will just go where I am at.”
He said there is no need to worry about any lost of his blazing speed.
“My speed is still with me,” Marshall said. “I think that is just something that stayed naturally with me. I never really worked on any speed or agility drills. It is something that really just came natural to me. It just feels like I am at my own pace at all times.”
Marshall noted that he just basically took a pitch and ran either left or right with it last season.
"He knew three plays because there was kickoff return too," Arkansas running backs coach Joel Thomas. "In his defense, he was playing defense, special teams and running back. His focus wasn't just on the position. His primary focus now is to play running back. He is a quick learner...a natural at the position.”
Marshall knows that there is a lot more to being a complete back than just speed.
"The big focus has been pass protection and vision," Marshall said. "That's something I really lacked last season. I go back and watch some of my film and there was a couple of runs I could have broken had I just made that one cut instead of just so much north and south. I'm not saying be an east-and-west runner, but make a cut when I need it."
He notes there is a more confident runner know that he knows the playbook.
"It actually feels good," Marshall said. "You can actually move around faster when you know what you are doing. That's something they stress a lot especially when you don't know what you are doing. You are just out there confused. I was probably the only one out there not knowing what to do, but it feels good to know what exactly to do and have the playbook down."
• • •
According to Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman, he is enjoying working in his returning guys and his four newcomers.
“The competition has obviously stepped up,” Pittman said. “Most of the time those kids in front will step up so they won’t get beat out. We’ll see when the pads come on, but I have been real pleased with the older guys and the new guys as well.”
Sophomore guard Denver Kirkland has lost close to 25 pounds down from around 350.
“He has lost around 22 to 24 pounds, he is a lot faster and his face looks a little slimmer,” Pittman said. “He is doing a good job and is in shape. Again we haven’t really hit anybody yet.”
As of Tuesday, the first team offensive line featured Mitch Smothers at center, Luke Charpentier at left guard, Denver Kirkland at right guard, Dan Skipper at left tackle and senior Brey Cook at right tackle.
The newcomers are pushing hard on the second line with transfer Cameron Jefferson at left guard, freshman Frank Ragnow at center, Sebastian Tretola at right guard while freshman Brian Wallace is working third team at right tackle.
“Sebastian is a competitive son of a gun now,” Pittman said. “He is big, but he has man he through the first two days really well. He learns fast and wants to be good and we are all real pleased that he is here.”
• • •
Arkansas receivers coach Michael Smith said he has flanker Keon Hatcher, split end Demetrius Wilson and slot receiver Jared Cornelius working with the first unit right now.
Cody Hollister is the current backup at split end with former quarterback Duwop Mitchell backing up Hatcher and Drew Morgan getting reps with Cornelius.
“He is embracing it and I take my hat off to the young man because as a quarterback, you want to play quarterback,” Smith said. “I went to that at my previous institution (Kansas State) with Chris Harper and kind of sold that to him. Chris finally bought in to becoming a receiver, the sky was the limit for him and he is playing with the Green Bay Packers now.
“I think Duwop sees that…He is embracing it, I am very excited for him, very proud of him and I am looking for great things from Duwop not only as a wide receiver, but I am going to try and use him some in the return game.”
JoJo Robinson is working in the slot and fellow true freshmen Kendrick Edwards at split end as they are getting their feet wet according to Smith.
“The thing that I really like about Kendrick is he is really smooth for a big tall guy,” Smith said. “He catches the ball naturally and I am impressed with the way he has been able to retain the stuff that we have talked about in the classroom and taking it on to the football field.
“…JoJo is quick as a cat, just what we thought about him,” Smith added. “He is a little bit not where we need him right now, a little bit slower than when Kendrick is, but he is playing two different positions and I think the kid has got a chance to be special."
Marshall Plans To Shock College Football
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