Arkansas coach displays confidence after losing star

Bret Bielema (AP/Bruce Newman)Any team would be disappointed to lose a senior running back who is one of the top 10 all-time leading rushers in school history.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are no different, but coach Bret Bielema was not as devastated as you might expect when he announced Jonathan Williams would indeed miss the season with a foot injury.

“If there’s one team in college football that can take a hit at the running back position it’s probably the Arkansas Razorbacks and not get fazed too much,” Bielema told reporters at the press conference.

Bielema does indeed have reasons to remain confident, mainly his behemoth offensive line and junior Alex Collins — who also crossed the magical 1,000-yard rushing mark last season.

Arkansas’s running back depth may be impressive, more so before the injury to Williams and freshman Juan Day (who tore his ACL in March). But there may be a few coaches around SEC who could boast more than Bielema.

UGA’s running back corps with Heisman-favorite Nick Chubb, a healthy Sony Michel and Keith Marshall could certainly rival Arkansas’ unit. Alabama still has junior Derrick Henry, along with senior Kenyan Drake, who is returning from a horrific leg injury.

Leonard Fournette and LSU could make a case, along with Missouri, which returns 1000-yard rusher Russell Hansbrough. Then there’s Auburn’s potent triple-option attack that can make opposing defenses look silly.

So while Bielema is right to remain bullish about his running game, the injury to Williams certainly brings the Razorbacks closer to the pack.

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