Bret Bielema Puts Alex Collins Rumors To Rest; Sees Positives in First Public Scrimmage


FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas football team held the first open scrimmage of the spring practice session on Saturday afternoon inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Head coach Bret Bielema was available to media after the scrimmage and spoke about the team’s work that afternoon and addressed a question regarding rumors of running back Alex Collins considering a transfer from Arkansas.

Doc Harper reports Bret Bielema calling those transfer rumors “baseless” and added that Collins has not been suspended for any upcoming ballgames.

Doc also reports Bielema saying Brey Cook has had a nice spring.

“I think going into our first scrimmage obviously I always have concerns about how everybody is going to handle the big moment and handle everything,” Bielema said. “I thought we started exactly how we practiced. We worked on first down all we could the first practice. We moved to first down, second down (during) practice number two. Practice number three, we did a little review of everything. This week on Thursday we put on third down, which involved a couple new packages on offense and defense and multiple snap counts, which we had some issues with today. We just practiced that for the first time on Thursday.”

Bielema also spoke about positive developments he saw during the scrimmage. Regarding the quarterback competition, Austin Allen is making progress with every practice but AJ Derby is still the No. 2 quarterback at least until Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney break down film after practice, Harper reports.

“There’s a lot of positives,” Bielema said. “I thought we caught the ball as well as we have since I’ve been here as far as guys just throwing and catching, which goes a long way, these guys that are open and being able to throw the ball and being able to catch and advance it a little bit. I thought there were some nice runs after the catch. Overall, I thought our ball security went fairly well and our defense has been practicing stripping it as hard as possible, so I thought that was a glowing positive. I thought certain guys at certain positions really have made games and showed up again out there today.”

Here is a roundup of what is being reported about the Razorbacks’ scrimmage:

Doc Harper’s full report is available at this link. Here is an excerpt:

Here are my takeaways from the scrimmage.

Brandon Allen is still clearly the #1 quarterback. He was 17-for-20 for 247 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Some of those were excellent throws into tight spots, some were spectacular catches by the receivers, and sometimes – particularly in the middle of practice when it seemed the defense might be tiring – the receivers seemed to be getting open pretty easily.

There were also very few real deep balls. Many of the passes that went for big yards were short or intermediate passes when the receiver was able to break free and run for extra yards. That goes for the entire practice, not just Allen’s plays.

At one point Allen threw a great pass that hit Hunter Henry in stride down the middle that Henry ran all the way for a touchdown, and Bielema was visibly upset with the defense afterward, exclaiming “when the ball is thrown, everybody run to the ball!” He seemed to think there was too much standing around and not enough aggression.

Robbie Neiswanger has a collection of stats here.

The Commercial Appeal reports:

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Allen has made strides physically and mentally this offseason and is ahead of younger brother Austin Allen and A.J. Derby at the position.

“He plays different. He’s got so much composure,” Bielema said. “What I love there, not that I wanted to see it, but when we had a couple guys jump offsides, he really let the huddle have an awareness of what we needed to do and what was expected. You like your quarterback to step up in that fashion and I think he’s done it.”

KFSM reports:

Physicality is one of five “edges” coach Bielema wants to instill this spring.

“The second one is we have to play fast through the whistle,” said Bielema. “Those two things have nothing to do with ability. The third and most detailed thing is we have to play clean. No penalties and be great in ball security. Fourth, we need to win critical downs, third down, redzone and goal-line. The fifth thing is we earn everything. If you earn things they tend to last. We have earned the spot we are in with college football. What we do with it is in our hands. No one will give us anything. We have to earn everything we do by the way we practice.”

Saturday’s scrimmage was the sixth of 15 spring practices allotted by the NCAA. The Razorbacks will wrap up their spring practice sessions with the Red-White Game on April 26. The Red-White Game will be held in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and broadcast live on CST. Game time is 1 p.m., and admission is free.

Bret Bielema Sees Positives in First Public Scrimmage

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