Alex Collins Ready for More Work

Arkansas running back Alex Collins knows there may be a few more carries in the game plan with Jonathan Williams on the injured list. He's ready and excited.

Alex Collins made it clear on Thursday early in his trip to the media room after practice that he misses Jonathan Williams. But, in the same breath, he is ready to put more weight on his shoulders with the senior running back injured.

"Jonathan is my mentor," said Collins, the junior from south Florida. "I learned a lot from him. It's a lot different feeling without him and I miss him.

"They have asked me to do a little more and I want to do it. I want more reps. I'm going to try to be a better player.

"If they need me to take more carries, I want to do that. I'm confident in myself. I think back to high school and remember that when I got more carries, it made me a better player. I want more carries and I want to put the weight of the team on my shoulders."

As for Williams, Collins said his mentor is still by his side in meetings and the leadership is still felt.

"He's still with us," Collins said. "It's still like it was, he's helping all of us. We all have to help each other. I learn from Kody Walker and Rawleigh Williams. They learn from me. If we see something, a mistake, then we are going to help each other every way we can."

Collins has gotten rave reviews throughout preseason camp about his improved quickness and speed after dropping close to 10 pounds midway through the summer. Quarterback Brandon Allen mentioned Collins again Thursday.

"He looks very quick," Allen said. "I've seen him like this since the middle of the summer. It was like he matured. He got his body right. You could see a difference right away. His speed is better. He was always shifty, but he's more shifty. He looks like he's added some breakaway speed.

"It looks like he's ready to take on a little more. But by the same token, Kody Walker and Rawleigh Williams are very talented, too."

Allen felt like Thursday's practice was a repeat of the last three of this week, following a scrimmage that lacked the spark in the passing game. That has returned this week. All in the offensive camp have remarked about the sharpness of the passing game this week.

The fifth-year senior was sharp out of the gate Thursday. It held together for most of the day.

"I think we were hot at the start today," Allen said. "We could have hit a couple of more passes at the end in the red zone. But you probably always want a couple of more.

"We've had a good week. I think we've gotten it down to a smaller number at wide receiver. You can see that happening each day and we've gotten better."

It was ones versus twos for much of the day Thursday and the offense took advantage. Allen said he prefers to go against the starters and expects head coach Bret Bielema to look for that matchup for most of camp.

"Coach B likes ones against ones and so do I," Allen said. "We'll probably get right back to that. Today was a change up. That's the first time in a long time for us to go against the twos."

There was only one interception, an Allen pass that was slightly behind JoJo Robinson. It hit off Robinson's hands and then off his shoulder pads and went into the air.

Allen said his accuracy has been much better this week than in the scrimmage. Dan Enos, the new offensive coordinator, seemed pleased with Allen's work Thursday. That wasn't the case in the scrimmage.

"I missed some open guys," Allen said. "Coach Enos calls it like it is. He wanted me to be more accurate. He was honest. There were a lot of throws I should make, some I never miss. I've got to be more accurate, more calm. I needed to improve and I think I did this week."

There was heavy pressure from the defensive front, but Allen said that's no excuse.

"I've got to keep my eyes down the field," he said. "You don't see the rush. It's just feel."

Allen sees the feel coming for freshman Rawleigh Williams, clearly a big need with Jonathan Williams' injury.

"Obviously, there is a learning curve for a freshman, but he's doing well," Allen said. "I saw him pick up a corner blitz today and that's not easy. That's tough to see.

"That helped us click in the passing game early. Drew Morgan made two big catches, a fade and a wheel route. He's one of our great team guys."

Wide receiver Keon Hatcher was asked about the loss of Jonathan Williams.

"He's my boy," he said. "I love him. But we have good backs. Rawleigh has opened eyes in this camp. He's a very good player. We are still going to have probably the best running game in the SEC."

Hatcher was pleased with Thursday's workout.

"You always want a few plays back, but this was a pretty good day," Hatcher said. "Everything went pretty good."

Things are gearing up for a Saturday scrimmage. Hatcher missed last week with a sore shoulder. He expects to be in the action Saturday.

"I hate it when you don't get a chance to compete," he said. "I feel great and I think I'm going to get to go. I sure hope so."


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