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The Daily Call – May 1, 2014

BY ANDRES FOCIL
The Daily Call – May 1, 2014

@RazorbackFB Boasts Strong, Selfless Running Back Trio One of just two teams in the nation returning two 900-yard rushers from last season, the Razorbacks have added to their running prowess with sophomore Korliss Marshall joining the backfield of Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins after splitting his time as a true freshman between safety and running back. Coach Bielema spoke highly about the trio, which last season was led by Collins’ 1,026 rushing yards. Adding Marshall to the mix that also included 900 yards on the ground from Williams gives Arkansas a feared stable of running backs. Marshall turned many heads during the Red-White Spring Game last Saturday, rushing for 99 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries highlighted by a 59-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter. “Jonathan entered spring ball and did some things that are very positive,” Coach Bielema said. “Alex has continued to show us more. I don’t think he has scratched the surface yet on the type of kid that he can be. The most exciting guy is Korliss because he was unscratched on his potential. All three are good players, and it is a very good issue to have. Every championship season I have been a part of, I have had three running backs.” Williams has emerged as the leader of the group after starting 11 games last season. In addition to his rushing, he also added seven catches for 72 yards and was 1-for-1 passing with a 21-yard touchdown pass at Rutgers on his first collegiate toss. He became the first Razorback to record at least one rushing, receiving and passing touchdown in one season since Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden in 2007. The Allen, Texas, native understands the benefits of multiple rushers contributing. “We have a lot of talent in that running back room,” Williams said. “The more we can get each guy out on the field, the more we can touch the ball, I feel like that would help our offense. We are a pretty driven group. We know that all three of us are going to collectively help this offense, and that’s definitely exciting.” Collins burst onto the collegiate scene last year, becoming the first freshman in SEC history and the first true freshman in FBS since Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson in 2004 to start his career with three straight 100-yard rushing games. The 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American wants to continue his progress as a sophomore and is happy to be part of a group that helps each other. “I’m using last season as motivation to be even better this season,” Collins said. “Having Jonathan and Korliss in the backfield with me is great because they are both really talented and we all feed off each other and motivate each other to be better. We also teach each other if we see errors. We have a bond that we want the best for each other, and that makes all of us greater.” Marshall made his biggest impact as a kickoff returner last season, totaling 422 of his 586 all-purpose yards on kickoff returns. The Osceola, Ark., native came to Fayetteville as a safety and has transitioned full-time to running back this offseason after rushing for 45 yards on just three carries in the season finale at No. 15 LSU. “It makes me stronger seeing the dedication that everybody in the running back room puts forth to contributing,” Marshall said. “That benefits me in so many ways. On the field, having all three of us able to perform keeps us all fresh. Going through an entire SEC season is tough. Guys get banged up, and running backs especially take a lot of pounding. Having three of us in the rotation allows us to contribute throughout the season without wearing down.” With so many good running backs and only one football, it’s easy for fans to wonder how running backs coach Joel Thomas will decide to split up the snaps. “Joel Thomas had good spring exit interviews with those guys,” Coach Bielema said. “He labeled them 1A, 1B and 1C. That’s why I put all three of them with the ones for the spring game. I wanted them to know that is where we see them and would like to use them. I know that all running backs want the ball. I understand it, and it’s our job as coaches to find a place to use them.” The Arkansas offensive coaches are focusing on the positives of three running backs more than capable of contributing, and the running backs aren’t worried about how the reps are split. With each pulling for the other, the Razorback running game appears solid heading into the season opener Aug. 30 at Auburn.

@BretBielema Wraps Up Spring @RazorbackFB head coach Bret Bielema wrapped up his team’s 15 spring practices and looked forward to the summer yesterday. Coach Bielema touched on his overall impressions of the spring practice sessions, support from the fans, summer workouts and opening the season on national television at Auburn. To read his thoughts, click here.

Seniors Honored at Student-Athelte Graduation Reception Student-athletes from fifteen different sports gathered for a final time before finals week and the university graduation ceremony to share memories and future plans with their peers and fellow competitors. Several of these young men and women will continue competition at the next level, both here and internationally, but even more will use their degrees earned while wearing the Razorback uniform. For full story click here.

Hard-working group of guys! Congrats to the seniors honored at tonight’s student-athlete graduation reception! #WPS pic.twitter.com/ghFXSX0csJ

– Razorback Track XC (@RazorbackTF) May 1, 2014

For all their success on the field, it’s graduating that’s the ultimate goal. Congrats ladies. #NeverYield pic.twitter.com/RlNFIBGUi7

– Razorback Soccer (@RazorbackSoccer) May 1, 2014

Celebrating Avery, Emily & Clarissa at the Student-Athlete Graduation Ceremony. #YouDidIt! #WPS pic.twitter.com/w4i6Eh0E9w

– Razorback Volleyball (@RazorbackVB) May 1, 2014

Too ambiguous? Know exactly what coverage we’re missing? Have a general question for the athletic department? Tell us. Shout atarkmr@uark.eduwith suggestions of what you would like to see covered and what the column is missing. Interaction is good. Think of this as your portal to all things Arkansas.



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