The drama that surrounded Arkansas’ recruitment of running back Alex Collins was well worth it for Bret Bielema. The first-year Razorbacks head coach has a special one in the South Plantation (Fla.) product, evident in the special record Collins set Saturday. His 115 yards against Southern Miss made him the first player in SEC history to rush for the century mark in each of his first three games.
Collins went for 131 and 172 in the Razorbacks’ first two wins.
Though Arkansas has not exactly run a gauntlet in its non-conference — it has yet to play a BCS conference opponet — the record still carries a lot of weight. This is a conference that has featured such legendary running backs as Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, Shaun Alexander and fellow Razorback star Darren McFadden.
“A lot of great players have come through this league so obviously that’s a nice feather in his cap,” Bielema said in his post-game press conference.
Bielema’s Wisconsin Badgers team were predicated on powerful, multifaceted rushing attacks. The coach brought that philosophy to Fayetteville, evident in the Hogs’ early top 10 rushing offense ranking.
Alex Collins fit seamlessly into that strategy, and the freshman will be a cornerstone of Bielema’s long-term rebuilding strategy. Collins sees his place as simply being one component of a much larger, overall process, per his post-game statements.
“I am honored. I have to give my offensive line credit first, and my whole offense,” Collins said. “The defense had a good stand out there today. I just appreciate all of the things everyone has been doing for me.”
Getting Collins to Arkansas may not have been easy, but he’s making running down there look exceptionally so.