Arkansas returned to the practice field this morning after yesterday’s off day. The team practiced 24 periods in the first morning workout of the season.
It was also the Razorbacks’ first practice without running back Jonathan Williams, who suffered a left foot injury in Saturday’s scrimmage. The loss motivated Arkansas to have one of its best practices of the year. Williams was in attendance on a scooter with a boot on his left foot.
Head coach Bret Bielema addressed the media following practice and provided more information on Williams’ injury.
“Jonathan won’t be with us for the regular season,” said Bielema. “Whenever he comes back to the game I really believe he’ll be a better football player, a more talented football player and a more developed football player than he’s ever been before.”
Bielema added that Williams had a difficult time handling the news initially, but decided to put it all behind him last night. How did he turn the page? He started his Monday with an upper body workout at 6 a.m. with strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.
The team has started to turn the page, as well.
“If there’s one team in college football that can take a hit at the running back position, it’s probably the Arkansas Razorbacks,” Bielema said.
Alex Collins makes up the other half of the only duo to rush for 1,000 yards last year but Bielema said he doesn’t expect Collins’ role to change much. Instead, more opportunities will likely be given to junior Kody Walker and true freshman Rawleigh Williams III.
Walker had an excellent performance in the spring game, rushing 26 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns. A hybrid, Walker also plays fullback and was re-classified to a junior this year after earning a sixth year of eligibility.
Williams III may only be a true freshman, but he comes with a ton of talent. He raised some eyebrows in Saturday’s scrimmage and showed that he certainly has the size and speed to play in the Southeastern Conference. The Dallas, Texas native rushed for more than 2,800 yards during his senior season at Bishop Lynch HS.
The rest of the offense is ready to step up, as well. This morning’s practice was one of the finest of the season, highlighted by several great plays in the passing game. A number of wide receivers made acrobatic catches, including a pair by redshirt freshman Jojo Robinson. Potentially the greatest play of the morning was made by redshirt freshman Luke Rossi, who made such a spectacular diving grab that it caused defensive players to sprint down the field to congratulate him after the play.
Today’s practice marks the final week of fall camp before classes begin on Monday. The Razorbacks are 19 days away from kickoff against UTEP, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.