FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Some freshmen drew praise following Arkansas’ second scrimmage of the preseason.
Among the freshmen drawing praise was offensive guard Ricky Stromberg. The former Tulsa Union standout was committed to Tulsa until Arkansas offered just prior to the early signing period in December. It appears Arkansas is glad he was still available.
Arkansas center Ty Clary talked about how the offensive line did in the scrimmage.
“For the O-line I thought the scrimmage it went well,” Clary said. “It definitely could have been better. I think we need to start out a lot stronger. That’s something we’ve really been focusing on. But other than the kinda slow start we did well. We had some key players step up and really come in and help us out today.”
How about Stromberg?
“That’s who I was hinting at,” Clary said. “He really stepped up big today man. It’s hard as a freshman to come in and play O-line because you’re 18-, 19-year old going against 21-, 22-year olds. But I think he was ready mentally. He came in and knew he wanted to fight. He wanted to play hard. He had a heck of a day. I’m really proud of that guy right now.”
Which guard spot was he at?
“He went left guard for one series and then finished out at right guard for the rest of the day with the ones,” Clary said.
What is it about his play that has impressed you?
“You can’t dock him at all on effort,” Clary said. “That’s what it is. He is going full force every play. He’s gonna give it his all.”
Does he remind of yourself at all since Clary started as a true freshman himself in the 2017 season.
“I got thrown in as a freshman a little early,” Clary said. “It’s fun. As a freshman you get to think about, ‘Oh man, I might get to travel as a freshman that’s not something a lot of people get to do. I might get to play as a freshman.’ I think he saw that a little bit today. I told him, ‘Hey, this can happen for you. Go for it.’ And he did. He went for it.”
Dustin Fry, who coaches the offensive line, was asked about Stromberg on Thursday and had praise for him.
“He’s at a weight where I would feel comfortable playing him, but he does need to get a little heavier,” Fry said. “The freshmen, I’ve been very excited about them. Ricky’s done a great job. I think he’s about 280. I want him at 285, 290. I don’t want him to put on bad weight, but he’s definitely got to get up a little bit for this league sure. But he’s had a great camp along with the rest of those guys.”
Chad Morris has said Stromberg has a mean streak, have you seen that
“Man, he’s really good,” Fry said. “You’re going to be hearing that name a long time here on the Arkansas O-line.”
How does the mean streak manifest itself in practice?
“There’s nothing that’s too big for him,” Fry said. “He’s intense. Anything that happens, he’s always just ready to go hit somebody else. There’s nothing like, ‘Oh my God, I’m overwhelmed.’ He’s in it, man. He’s one of the most mature, locked in on the field wise that I’ve seen. So he does a really good job.”
Morris talked about Stromberg on the offensive line.
“We started Ricky Stromberg in the interior offensive line at guard to see what he could do running with the ones,” Morris said. “Very impressed with him. He made some mistakes, got beat. Especially when you’re going against Sosa, that happens. But very impressed and can’t wait to watch [the film] and see what he’s doing right now. But he’s definitely caught the attention and the eye of us in camp. Excited about that.”
What prompted you to give him a chance to start?
“Ricky has had a really good camp,” Morris said. “He’s very, very athletic. We just wanted to see what he could do in a scrimmage situation. He made some mistakes and got beat a few times, but he did some really good things. So we’ll see. I’m excited to watch this.”
But Stromberg wasn’t the only true freshman drawing praise from Morris. Treylon Burks and Trey Knox, both wide receivers, also was impressive according to Morris.
“I thought that our freshmen wide receivers today played exceptionally well,” Morris said. “These guys were making plays. I thought that Treylon Burks had several big-time plays today.”
What did the freshmen wide receivers do to standout?
“The freshman wide receivers was just guys making plays,” Morris said. “I mean that’s really it. We had several deep balls. Treylon Burks, this was the best day he’s had. Very, very explosive and powerful. He’s not afraid to catch the ball across the middle.
“Mike Woods, same way. Trey Knox, again, same way. We just had some freshmen guys stepping up and making some plays. They’ve done that through the course of camp, but today there were more consistent than I’ve seen them.”
Is it just a matter of time before Knox and Burks become go-to guys for the team?
“I thought that, I mean, I’m trying to figure out, in due time, I think these guys have shown that they’re making plays now,” Morris said. “It’s – we’re going to count on them now. So yeah, this isn’t bring them on, we know these guys are going to have to play. But again, Deon Stewart, DeVion Warren, these guys are all responding. Mike Woods. Responding and getting better. Jordan Jones. Tyson Morris.”
The Scoring Plays, Turnovers
— Treylon Burks had a TD pass from Nick Starkel
— Buster Brown had an interception off Ben Hicks
— Chase Hayden had a TD run
— De’Vion Warren caught a TD pass from Nick Starkel
— Jordan Jones caught a TD pass from Starkel
— Mike Woods caught TD pass from John Stephen Jones
— Joe Foucha INT from Starkel