Hogs: O linemen increase flexibility; R. Williams feels great after contact; more notes

Hogs: O linemen increase flexibility; R. Williams feels great after contact; more notes

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FAYETTEVILLE - Anybody penciling in the depth chart for Arkansas' offensive line needs extra erasers.

Tuesday’s first-team line had only sophomore left guard Hjalte Froholdt in the same place as when preseason drills began Thursday.

Tuesday’s practice, the first in full pads after two non-contact and two in shoulder pads, was conducted inside the Walker Pavilion.

The first-team O-line opened with University of Texas graduate transfer Jake Raulerson at center, Frank Ragnow at right guard, Dan Skipper at left tackle and Brian Wallace at right tackle. In the preceding practices, other than a slew of right guards including Raulerson, sophomore Zach Rogers and Wallace, senior starter Skipper lined up at right tackle, redshirt freshman Colton Jackson of Conway at left tackle and Ragnow at center.

Any alignment during the preseason seems possible as Bielema and line coach Kurt Anderson said they will keep mixing and matching to “find their best five.” 

Whether Ragnow is a center or guard, or Skipper, a right tackle, left tackle or a guard, they know they are starting somewhere.

“We just kind of show up every day, and it's a new front,” Ragnow said. “You've just got to handle adversity and deal with it. I mean, it's fun. It's fun seeing guys step up at new positions … It's been good.”

Does he have a guard (his position as a starter last year) or center (his position as a backup in 2014) preference?

“I feel comfortable at both,” Ragnow said. “But I like center a lot. I learned to love it. There's a lot more there mentally. You're kind of the head guy up front. But I like football the most.”

Ragnow was asked if he frets redshirt freshman Jackson's confidence will take a jolt by practicing second-team for the first time since advancing last spring at left tackle.

“No … I think last year I would have worried about it,” Ragnow said. “But Colton has grown up so much and developed so much more confidence and swagger. I'm not worried about him.”

Froholdt, the Denmark native behind in football nuances and then moved from defensive to offensive line, figured there’s a reason why he has been the only first-team lineman practicing in the same spot.

“I think they are just trying to make sure I am comfortable where I am,” Froholdt said.  “I think I have been down OK so far.”

Difficult to have so many different  guys practicing to the left and right of him?

“The different guys are extremely good players and have played the offensive line for a lot longer than I have,” Froholdt said. “So, I feel extremely comfortable.”

The Razorbacks took comfort and joy Tuesday seeing Rawleigh Williams, who broke his neck last October vs. Auburn, thrive in his first practice in pads since the injury.
To see him back on the field is great for the team and knowing how much he loves the game,” junior receiver Jared Cornelius said. “He is making cuts like nothing ever happened.  That’s a confidence-booster for all of us.”

Williams  said he had “no second thoughts” about getting hit in a practice that was almost full contact. The Hogs will tackle to the ground Saturday during a scrimmage at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

“It felt great,” Williams said. “It felt like I never left to be honest with you. I went through half the practice and I was like, 'Man, I'm doing this.' It felt great to be back out there and I think I had a great practice.”

Williams said both took hits and dished them out.

“Santos (Ramirez, the first-team strong safety) hit me pretty good one time,” Williams said.  “That's just part of the game. It didn't hurt any, so I'm good. I gave a couple hits too. I had some pretty good pass protection today. So it goes both ways.”

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