Jason Ivester

Bielema High on Alex Collins

Bret Bielema expects to see an improved Alex Collins when Arkansas opens the season Saturday against UTEP.

Bret Bielema spoke on the SEC Coaches' Teleconference this morning and one of the highlights was praise for junior running back Alex Collins.

Bielema, the third-year Arkansas coach, has been high on Collins since the maturity factor clicked midway through the summer. Collins will be the starter at running back after senior Jonathan Williams went down in August camp with a torn ligament in his foot.

Repeatedly, Bielema has praised Collins for rededication as far as nutrition and detail in conditioning. Collins has lost nine pounds, but basically redistributed the rest of his weight. Bielema has said he's got "less in the caboose and more in the chest."

On Wednesday with reporters on the SEC Coaches Teleconference, Bielema said, "I think this will be the best Alex Collins you've ever seen."

Here are some other notes:

- Cornerback Cornelius Floyd is "day-to-day" with his injury. His status for Saturday's game depends on how he practices today and tomorrow. Bielema said he thinks there is enough depth at cornerback that Arkansas will be fine if he can't play against UTEP. 

- Arkansas prepared for Tennessee during spring practice because it was a team Bielema had never faced. He said most of the fall camp was spent preparing for the first few games. 

- Bielema will wear a blue arm band with the name of his father, Arnie, Saturday as the Razorbacks do their prostate awareness game. Bielema said his father, who has overcome prostate and throat cancer, will attend the game. 

- Kody Walker became a father Tuesday. 

- If Arkansas has the chance to play backups late Saturday, the offensive line rotation would look like this: Zach Rogers at center, Josh Allen at either guard spot and Brian Wallace and Johnny Gibson at tackle. Bielema mentioned Marcus Danenhauer would probably man the other backup guard spot. Frank Ragnow is still the backup center if Mitch Smothers were to be injured. 

- Dan Skipper may play some guard this season. Bielema said it's possible that Brian Wallace will see the field some at the same time as Skipper. In that scenario, Ragnow might slide over to center. 

- Bielema mentioned there will be some sets in the Arkansas offense with as many as seven or eight offensive linemen Saturday.

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