|Wednesday, October 16
Solich: 'It appears he has quit the team'
LINCOLN, Neb. -- I-back Thunder Collins' football career at Nebraska appears to be over.
The running back missed a third straight day of practice Wednesday and coach Frank Solich said the senior from Los Angeles who was battling for the starting job in August has apparently quit the team.
Collins dropped from No. 2 on the depth chart when he was suspended for four games after the first game of the season. In his absence true freshman David Horne has emerged as the top backup to Dahrran Diedrick, dropping Collins to the third string.
"Whether that all entered into the fact that he's not here, I'm not sure,'' Solich said. "What I am certain about is that he's not here and it appears he has quit the team.''
Efforts to find Collins the past few days have not been successful, Solich said.
If Collins does want to return to the team, Solich will listen. However, he said there would definitely be some sort of disciplinary action if he agrees to let Collins come back.
"I would have to visit with him and see exactly what the circumstances are surrounding him not being here for three days,'' Solich said.
Solich has given players a second chance under similar circumstances. In 1999, I-back Correll Buckhalter skipped a few practices out of frustration over a lack of playing time. Buckhalter changed his mind and was allowed to stay on the team by serving a one-game suspension.
Diedrick said Collins would be welcome. He said he spoke to Collins Monday.
Diedrick said he had heard people talking about Collins, saying he wanted to quit after he had just four carries for 17 yards Saturday against Missouri.
"I wish he'd just come to his senses,'' Diedrick said. "I hope something changes in his mind and he gets the opportunity to be back on the football team.''
Collins' career has been marked by as many highlights off the field as on it. He's had just one 100-yard rushing game, carrying the ball 13 times for 165 yards in a win over Baylor last fall. In two and a half seasons at Nebraska, Collins has carried 121 times for 763 yards and five touchdowns.
Collins first ran afoul of Solich in the spring 2001 when the coach held him out of a few practices so he could get his academics in order. A few months later, he was arrested and later charged with assault for fighting with his girlfriend.
Collins entered a pre-trial diversion program to have the charges dropped and avoided a suspension, but failed to complete the terms set by prosecutors.
In August, Lancaster County Attorney Gary Lacey refiled the misdemeanor charges against Collins, who was suspended around the same time for violating an undisclosed NCAA rule.
Collins sat out four games during the suspension and played only at the very end of wins over McNeese State and Missouri since his return.
Collins, who entered the season listed as a co-No. 1 with Diedrick, was third on the team in rushing last year with 647 yards on 94 carries. He has 14 carries for 39 yards this season.
"People get angry and sometimes that's the first thing they say _ 'I'm going to quit,''' Diedrick said. "We all just assumed for him to be here on Monday and when he wasn't it was a shock.''