Jason Ivester

Bielema Looks for Big Things from Collins

Bret Bielema thinks his Arkansas football team is locked in after Thursday's practice with the opener against UTEP coming in two days.

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the last heavy day of practice Thursday "was really crisp. We were locked in. Our older players did a nice job of bringing our younger guys along today."

Bielema got caught in traffic because of an accident on Weddington Road and was delayed on his arrival at the Catfish Hole. So Clay Jennings was the first up on the radio show tonight.

Radio host Chuck Barrett asked Jennings if the secondary could be a strength of the team. He said, "It takes good kids to make good coaches and we have that. They give us all they've got."

Bielema said it's a test for the offense against UTEP in accounting for the blitz.

"They blitz in some form 75 percent of the time," Bielema said. "We have to block them up and take advantage of our opportunities."

Bielema was asked about the running backs.

"All of us knew Alex Collins was a good player, but he's had his best camp," Bielema said. "He's leaned up and he looks right. He worked at the Catfish Hole this summer and he may be the only person ever to work here and lose 20 pounds.

"I saw his eyes in the huddle this afternoon and they were bouncing around. He's feeling it and in a good way. He could run for some big numbers.

"Kody Walker is fresh. He's a new daddy this week and had two days off from practice. He's got fresh leg and looked like a 260-pound sprinter today.

"Everyone is going to enjoy Rawleigh Williams. He'll be in there early. He's explosive and runs behind his pads."

Dominique Reed has turned heads in fall camp, Bielema said. He said the wide receiver is as advertised, "Very fast. He catches it with his hands and is natural. We'll ease him into the game. He's very long. He's 6-3, 6-4, but he plays like he's 6-6."

The first question asked by fans at the show concerned play calling by Dan Enos. Does he script the start of a game?

"He's got the first three or four plays scripted," Bielema said. "It's kind of fun for me. I like the way he calls plays. We sat down two weeks ago and went over what he wants to do. He's in theory more aggressive in critical moments than what we've had."

Bielema was asked who might the surprise players be this season? On defense, he started with Santos Ramirez.

"Santos played corner and safety in high school," Bielema said. "He can play both safety spots. He would have played last year but he had a hamstring injury that would not heal.

"I think on offense, it could be Jeremy Sprinkle. Teams will focus on Hunter Henry and I think that may leave some space for Jeremy. Up front, it may be Frank Ragnow. He's 30 pounds heavier than last year. I've had some great offensive linemen but for a young age, no one may have been as advanced as Frank. He's had a very consistent camp."

Bielema was asked about Dan Skipper being in on field goal block situations. That will be the case again this year after three blocks in each of the last two seasons.

"We have certain situations we'll have both Dan and Sebastian Tretola out there and we'll have the other defenders playing it safe."


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