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Bielema: Arkansas RB Collins Isn’t Transferring

alex-collinsArkansas running back Alex Collins isn’t going anywhere.  At least not according to head coach Bret Bielema who called social media “reports” that Collins would leave “completely clueless, baseless and senseless.”  

The sophomore-to-be finished seventh in the SEC last season in rushing yards per game with 85.5.  Overall he carried the ball 190 times for 1,026 yards and four touchdowns.  He earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors for his efforts.

But rumors have swirled that Collins might not be happy in Fayetteville, might be facing a multi-game suspension, and might be interested in transferring closer to his South Florida home.  You might recall that on Signing Day 2013 Collins’ mother raised a stink about her son going so far from home to attend college and play football.  Also, Collins was one of nine UA players suspended earlier this offseason, though no specific reason was given.

Bielema said Saturday — as he shot down those transfer rumors — that Collins has “really grown as a person.”  He added:

 

I think the thing about him is he’s had so much success in life, when he had a bump in the road he had a tendency to try to do things his own way.  And he had to learn how to do the things the way we are here.  I couldn’t be more pleased with where he’s at.  He had to grow a lot.  He had to earn respect from some of his teammates.  He’s doing that bit by bit now.”

 

Collins was part of a one-two punch at running back for the Razorbacks last season.  Junior-to-be Jonathan Williams finished with 150 carries, 900 yards and four touchdowns.

If Arkansas is to improve on it’s 3-9 (0-8 in the SEC) 2013 season, it will need Collins in the fold and on the field.

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FAU Hires Arkansas Assistant Partridge As New Head Football Coach

partridgeReports began to surface this weekend that Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge would be named the next head football coach at Florida Atlantic.  Today, those reports became official.

FAU announced the hiring of Partridge this morning.  He is a Florida native and his departure from Bret Bielema’s staff leaves a South Florida-shaped hole.  Partridge helped the Razorbacks land Denver Kirkland and Alex Collins from that area in February.

This will be the first head coaching job for Partridge who will take over the Owl program from Carl Pelini.

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LSU Rallies To Beat Arkansas

postgame-links-150x1501LSU 31 – Arkansas 27. Video Highlights 

1. Tigers drive 99 yards for a game-winning touchdown behind freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings, in for an injured Zach Mettenberger.

2. Jennings delivers 101 yards of offense in just 11 snaps.

3. Scott Rabalais: “Only the Tigers, man.  Only the Tigers.”

4. Mettenberger left field on crutches - will have MRI on knee today.

5. Razorbacks become first team in school history to lose nine games – finish 0-8 in SEC play.

6. A highlight for Arkansas this season – freshman running back Alex Collins.  Went over 1,000 yards on the season in his first carry Friday.

 

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SEC Headlines 11/22/2013

headlines-friSEC Football

1. Alabama coach Nick Saban explained what freshman cornerback Eddie Jackson has to do to earn more playing time.

2. Seniors AJ McCarron, Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood have formed quite a bond during their time at Alabama.

3. Auburn’s linebackers played well last weekend despite a breakdown “here or there.”

4. Arkansas freshman running Alex Collins has been great but is “nowhere even close to being what he can be,” according to coach Bret Bielema.

5. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen hasn’t announced which quarterback he will start against Arkansas. Bielema said he wouldn’t say so either.

6. LSU is preparing for a tough test against Texas A&M star wide receiver Mike Evans.

7. LSU’s defensive ends will be focused on staying disciplined against Texas A&M and quarterback Johnny Manziel.

8. Where does Manziel stand among the all-time SEC greats? Ron Higgins takes a look.

9. Ole Miss is preparing for the return of Missouri quarterback James Franklin.

10. Texas A&M’s defense will certainly be tested when it goes up against LSU and quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

11. Meet Christian Provancha, who’s one play away from being Florida’s starting quarterback.

12. Players are standing up for Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham as he hears criticism over the defense’s struggles.

13. An injury during his freshman year slowed the development of Georgia senior D.J. Stripling.

14. Kentucky has suspended three players for this week’s game at Georgia. One is suspended indefinitely.

15. True freshman quarterback Reese Phillips has impressed Kentucky coach Mark Stoops while Phillips redshirts this season.

16. South Carolina running back Shon Carson is preparing to make his first career start against Coastal Carolina.

17. The Tennessee-Vanderbilt game is important because the two schools battle for the same in-state players.

18. Vanderbilt will need a good defensive performance as it tries to beat Tennessee in Knoxville.

19. Ole Miss is preparing for Missouri’s strong pass rush. “They’re a special group,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.

SEC Basketball

20. Georgia lost 94-82 to Davidson on Thursday night. It was Davidson’s first win of the season.

21. A balanced attack from Florida helped the Gators beat MTSU 79-59 on Thursday night.

22. Highly-touted freshman Jarell Martin is getting closer to returning for LSU after he injured his ankle in the season opener.

23. Ole Miss will be at home Friday night as it takes on Mississippi Valley State.

24. Transfer Jordan Clarkson has shown he will be an important part of Missouri’s basketball team.

Extra

25. Pat Forde and Dan Wetzel take a close look at the investigation involving Florida State QB Jameis Winston.

26. USA Today’s college football staff is split on picks in the Ole Miss-Missouri and LSU-Texas A&M games.

27. Lane Kiffin on Southern Cal’s head coaching vacancy: “That’s easy. That’s already done. It should be Ed Orgeron.

28. Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix is lost for the season with a torn meniscus.

29. What happened to the Heisman buzz surrounding Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. Ted Miller looks at Mariota’s strong season.

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Alabama LB DePriest On Arkansas RBs: “They’re The Best That We’ve Seen”

gfx - they said itAlabama linebacker Trey DePriest didn’t mince words when asked about the dynamic running back tandem Arkansas will bring into Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.  In his view, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams present a big challenge to Bama’s D:

 

“They’re tough.  To me, they’re the best that we’ve seen.  They’re real patient in how they run behind their blocks.  They’re real good at cutting it back, so they’re strong because when they cut back they get hit and they’re getting yards after the hit…

Just to be patient like (Collins), coming from high school, it’s impressive to stay behind your blocks.  In high school, he’s probably bigger and faster than everybody else and you really have to be patient to make that step and come to college, stay behind the blocks and have the vision that he’s got.”

 

Collins currently ranks third in the SEC in rushing yards per game with 102.8.  Williams places seventh with an 80.5 per-game clip.  Both have scored four touchdowns.

But guess who’s rushing defense has been steadily improving after a horrendous day at Texas A&M.  Yep.  Alabama has climbed all the way to second place in the SEC, allowing just 87.1 yards per game on the ground.

It doesn’t take a coach to figure out that Bama will likely stack the line of scrimmage and dare the Razorbacks to beat them with sophomore Brandon Allen throwing the football.

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Arkansas Stays Perfect, Kentucky Loses, Tennessee Blown Out

postgame-linksArkansas 24 – Southern Miss 3. Video Highlights

1. Razorbacks go to 3-0 despite quarterback Brandon Allen being knocked out of the game with an arm injury. “It didn’t appear to be anything more than … like a bruise.”

2. Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins top the 100-yard mark for the third straight game.

3. “Arkansas’ offensive coaches got a little too cute for this game.”

Louisville 27 – Kentucky 13. Video Highlights

4. Offense was supposed to be the focus of this game, but the defense kept Kentucky in the game.

5. Quarterback Max Smith forced out of the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. “I’m going to be fine, and I’ll be ready to go for our next opponent.”

6. “In the third week of the season, the conventional wisdom about the UK QB situation proved disturbingly prescient.”

Oregon 59 – Tennessee 14.  Butch Jones Post-Game News Conference

7. One for the record books - worst loss for Tennessee in the modern era.

8. Tennessee led 7-0 before Oregon ran off 59 straight points, piling up 687 yards of offense.

9. Vols played Saturday without their top three slot receivers, defensive tackle position looking thin with injury to Trevarris Saulsberry.

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SEC Gameday Links: Afternoon Delights 9/14/2013

gameday-linksLouisville at Kentucky

1. Is this rivalry game in danger of ending after the current contract runs out in 2016?

2. Today’s game marks the beginning of a brutal stretch of games for Kentucky – four straight against top-20 teams.

3. Kentucky’s quarterback tandem of Max Smith and Jalen Whitlow rotated in and out 13 times in the first half last week – expect more of the same today.

Southern Miss at Arkansas

4. Razorbacks want to run the ball and control the clock.  Southern Miss is yet another no-huddle offense.

5. Just how good has the running back duo of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams been so far?   Collins leads the conference in rushing and Williams is third.

6. Southern Miss is the team that current Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson led to an 0-12 season a year ago.

 Tennessee at Oregon

7. Tennessee is on a 16-game losing streak against ranked opponents.  Last time they won against a ranked team, Lane Kiffin was the coach.

8. Expectations for the Vols?  ”A close defeat would be commendable. A win over the Ducks? Jones might have a street named after him in Knoxville before the team’s flight even lands back in town.”

9. Should Alabama lose today at Texas A&M today, Oregon is looking at this game as a chance to vault to No. 1 in the polls. (We’ll have out Gameday Links for Alabama/A&M coming up next).

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SEC Recruiting Headlines 5/24/2013

recruiting-headlines-gfx1. Florida traveled to Alabama’s back yard to get a tight end commitment for 2014.   Tuscaloosa tight end Cyontai Lewis committed to the Gators Thursday night and called coach Will Muschamp to give him the news.  ”He was pumped up,” Lewis said. “He said he was going to make a commitment to me to not recruit any more tight ends as long as I commit to him that I’m going there.”

2. Six uncommitted prospects in the state of Alabama headed to Auburn for “Big Cat Weekend.”

3. Raleigh, North Carolina tight end Avery Edwards became familiar with Jim Chaney at a Tennessee camp last year.  Now that Chaney is the offensive coordinator at Arkansas, Edwards has interest in the Razorbacks.  Arkansas is one of 10 scholarship offers Edwards has received, but the only one from an SEC school.

4. The Miami Herald has named Arkansas incoming freshman running back Alex Collins the Broward County Male Athlete of the Year.

5. Elizabethton, Kentucky’s Mat Elam is considered one of  the top defensive tackles in the country.  He’s reportedly deciding between Alabama, Kentucky and Louisville.

6. New Jersey athlete Jabrill Peppers will make his collegiate selection Sunday.  LSU is reportedly one of six finalists.

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SEC Recruiting Notebook: The Nation’s Top Target… Mom

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxThe story of Arkansas running back signee Alex Collins dominated headlines last week.

Collins, who attends South Plantation High School in Plantation, Fla., had committed to the Razorbacks two days before signing day and was set to sign with Arkansas on Feb. 6. But Collins’s mother refused to sign his national letter of intent, leading Collins to seek out his father’s help to get the letter signed.

A similar situation could have occurred with Florida State linebacker signee Matthew Thomas from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami.

Thomas told Noles247.com he wanted to sign with Southern California but his mother refused to sign his letter of intent. Unlike Collins, Thomas chose not to battle his mother on the subject.

“We couldn’t agree, but it’s my mom, I just did what I had to do,” Thomas told Noles247.

Thomas insisted he’s not upset about his mother’s refusal to sign a letter to USC.

“I think everything works out how it’s supposed to,” Thomas said. “I’m going to make the best of my situation. It’s not like I’m unhappy, I really like Florida State. It’s not a problem, I’m happy with my decision.”

How many prospects would be happy with a situation similar to the one involving Thomas? Obviously Collins wasn’t; he still signed with Arkansas instead of staying close to home as his mother insisted.

But there are many prospects who would react the same way Thomas did, simply saying, “It’s my mom.”

Last week, standout defensive end Chris Jones from Houston, Miss., signed with Mississippi State instead of rival Ole Miss. One major reason: his mother wanted him in Starkville. At least that’s what Ole Miss co-defensive coordinator Wes McGriff told SI.com.

Ole Miss couldn’t sway Jones’s mother, but it was able to do so with other recruits. The Rebels staff made connections with the people closest to its top targets. With defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, it was his brother, who plays at Ole Miss, and mother, who made it clear Ole Miss was her top pick. With wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss’s recruiting started with his friend and former high school teammate (who signed with Ole Miss last February) and ended with his mother.

So with the 2014 recruiting period already underway, it should be obvious who coaches should target. It starts with the prospects, but with many, it will end with mom.

Hold off on those visits

The 2013 class featured many prospects who committed to one school (or two) but signed with another last week.

Read the rest of this entry »

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2012 Signing Class: Arkansas’ Target Zone

target-with-dartsArkansas added 23 players from 9 different states on Wednesday and Thursday.  A breakdown of the Razorbacks’ “target zone” is below:

 

Arkansas = 7 recruits

Florida = 4

California = 3

Texas = 3

Kansas = 2

Colorado = 1

Georgia = 1

Hawaii = 1

New Jersey = 1

 

In-State Signees = 30.4%

Out-Of-State Signees = 69.5%

 

Observation:

Bret Bielema successfully locked down his state’s borders.  As a small state, Arkansas doesn’t produce a great deal of local prospects.  Those top players inside the state need to be held onto.  The Hogs signed seven in-state kids overall and they just happened to be seven of the eight highest-ranked players in the state.  Unfortunately, Alabama came in and grabbed the state’s top running back in Altee Tenpenny.  The bizarre signing of Alex Collins from Florida should help to make up for that loss.  Moving forward, let’s see if Bielema and crew are able to pull more kids from Texas and Oklahoma.

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