FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bret Bielema introduced new defensive coordinator Robb Smith on Monday morning.
But Bielema revealed something else that caught everyone’s attention in response to a question near the end of the press conference.
Alex Collins, who topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark as a freshman last season, has been suspended from the team for a week. Bielema didn’t reveal specific reasons for the suspension, but said Collins isn’t participating in football-related activities.
“We’ll evaluate where he’s at a week from now,” Bielema said. “I just basically told our guys we have zero tolerance. We’re in this thing all together. … Alex will be out this week, see how he handles this week and get ourselves moving forward. You’ll probably see that he is not going to be as active on Twitter and everything else as well. He’s been removed from all social media until further notice.”
Collins isn’t the first player to be removed from the team for a week during the offseason. Bielema said last Wednesday that safety/running back Korliss Marshall was one of three players who also spent some time away from the program.
Bielema said Marshall and the two others — wide receiver Nathan Crouch and running back Bubba Jenkins — have returned to football activities.
“We’re in an eight-week window of winter conditioning. Four weeks have gone by, and if you’re not moving forward you’re not helping us at all,” Bielema said about the suspensions. “We need to see guys make physical gains, strength gains and then definitely in the academic area. And if somebody is lacking in those three areas, it’s pretty easy for me to remove the football side of it until they figure it out, because that usually makes kids a little bit more accountable.”
Collins will not participate in weight lifting or conditioning sessions with the team during his week-long suspension. He won’t participate in any other football-related items as well until permitted to return to the team.
Bielema said Collins will receive other punishment, too, from one-on-one sessions with Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.
“He’s a tremendous young man that has to step up in certain areas to get where we want to be and I think he’ll do that,” Bielema said about Collins.