Bob Holt is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. Holt has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
Razorbacks football report:
UA back trimmer this year
Arkansas running back Alex Collins goes through practice Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- Tailback Alex Collins looked slimmer Thursday as the Razorbacks opened fall camp.
The junior is listed as 215 pounds, which is more than 10 pounds less than his weight for much of last season.
Collins was listed at 224 pounds at the start of spring practice, and Coach Bret Bielema said he gained nine pounds during spring break. The weight gain was a contributing factor in Collins being listed as a co-second-teamer with senior Kody Walker on the post-spring depth chart.
"His endurance is so much better than it was a year ago," quarterback Brandon Allen said of Collins. "He's in there every play now. Every rep he's in going full speed, and before you could kind of see when he was getting tired and he was trying to relax and not go as hard.
"Today he went hard all day long. That comes from getting his body right and getting himself in shape."
After opening last season with a road game at defending SEC champion Auburn, the Arkansas Razorbacks open this fall Sept. 5 against Texas-El Paso in Fayetteville.
Texas El-Paso was 7-6 last season, including 5-3 in Conference USA. The last time the Razorbacks played the Miners, Arkansas won 58-21 in 2010.
"It's different, but you can't take anybody lightly," Arkansas tailback Jonathan Williams said Thursday after the first practice of camp. "Every year you see somebody get upset that first week, so we're going to take it just like we're playing Auburn again."
The Razorbacks lost 42-21 at Auburn after being tied 21-21 at halftime. It was the first time Arkansas had opened the season with a conference game since a 23-17 loss at Texas in 1980.
Quarterback Brandon Allen touted a strong first day for redshirt freshman receiver Jojo Robinson, who rotated in and out of Coach Bret Bielema's dog house last season.
"Jojo had a great day," Allen said. "He was out there running around, lined up where he's supposed to line up, running the right route, making great plays. I think he had two or three diving catches. He's definitely coming along."
Defensive end Anthony Brown and receivers Kendrick Edwards and Jojo Robinson -- all of whom spent time in the spring suspended by Coach Bret Bielema -- practiced Thursday.
Bielema said after spring drills the players would have a chance to return if they fulfilled certain requirements during the summer.
Linebacker Randy Ramsey was suspended in the spring for academic reasons and didn't return.
Bielema had said Ramsey had not passed enough hours in the spring to meet NCAA requirements and would not return to Arkansas.
Coach Bret Bielema made the call to have Arkansas' starting offensive linemen on the media guide cover this year.
"Everybody knows Coach B is heavy into his O-line," senior guard Sebastian Tretola said. "He treats us first-class. It makes us feel the importance, and it's great for recruiting."
Running backs Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins combined on a short promo clip for the Razorback Sports Network and the football program's @ArkRazorbacks Twitter site with "Camp Is Here" in all caps.
In the three-second clip, filmed in the dressing room, Collins flips a football in the air left-handed from his waist and Williams snatches it from the air with his right hand as both players stare into the camera for the entire clip.
Williams said it took a couple of takes to make sure the video had the right look with the ball in the air.
"I didn't drop any of them, but I was looking at the ball sometimes and it wasn't the catch I wanted it to be," he said. "It didn't take that many."
Tailback Jonathan Williams said it's exciting to play power football behind Arkansas' hefty offensive line.
"There are a lot of teams that don't get to see it week in and week out and it is pretty tough to prepare for in a week," Williams said. "So that helps us out a lot.
"Everybody has four or five wide receivers out there and they're trying to play fast. It's a lot different whenever you play us."
Senior guard Sebastian Tretola weighs 325 pounds after reporting to camp at 376 a year ago.
"This is a whole different feeling," Tretola said. "It's still hot, and I still get tired, but I recover faster."
Allen on list
Quarterback Brandon Allen is one of three SEC quarterbacks on the 24-man watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, joining Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and Missouri's Maty Mauk.
Allen, one of three returning quarterbacks with 20-plus touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions last season, will enter 2015 with a streak of 90 consecutive passes without an interception.
The Unitas award will be presented Dec. 11 in Baltimore.
The jersey numbers for scholarship newcomers who did not participate in the spring are: 40 Jamario Bell, 44 Austin Cantrell, 8 Nate Dalton, 18 Derrick Graham, 23 Dre Greenlaw, 74 Colton Jackson, 42 Kendrick Jackson, 8 Blake Johnson, 15 C.J. O'Grady, 88 La'Michael Pettway, 10 Ryan Pulley, 92 T.J. Smith, 13 Deon Stewart, 7 Willie Sykes, 22 Rawleigh Williams III.
Veterans who have switched numbers since last season are Henre' Toliver (5), Josh Williams (21), Khalia Hackett (27), and Dan Skipper (70).
Arkansas has designated its season opener against Texas-El Paso as its prostate cancer awareness game.
Former SEC commissioner Mike Slive, a prostrate cancer survivor, will be recognized as part of the promotion, and university officials are asking fans to nominate other prostate cancer survivors to be recognized on the field at halftime.
Fans can make online nominations until 5 p.m. Aug. 26 at arkansasrazorbacks.com.
Sports on 08/07/2015
Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.