FAYETTEVILLE — Junior center Ricky Stromberg is seeing his name show up on some all-star lists around the SEC and nation.
The former Tulsa (Okla.) Union standout chose Arkansas late in the recruiting process after previously being committed to the University of Tulsa. Stromberg came in and played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2019. He started the final 11. In 2020, Stromberg played in nine games with eight starts. So after two good seasons what is he trying to make even more strides in 2021?
“I would say being a better leader this year and being vocal,” Stromberg said. “I don’t think last year I was as vocal. This year, I need to be more vocal for our unit. And overall, just improve my run-game blocking.”
Last year at this time Stromberg and the players were still trying to get to know Sam Pittman more. Now, after a year, how is that aspect of it going?
“I mean another year another coach,” Stromberg said. “We keep building a relationship with Pittman. Coach (Cody) Kennedy is awesome. I love him. He’s a great teacher and he’s a great coach. So keep building relationships with them as the year goes on.”
One of the newcomers Stromberg has faced on the D-line is John Ridgeway who at 6-6, 320, is a load to handle.
“He’s a big guy,” Stromberg said. “He’s strong. He has really good hands. He shoots his hands, and you feel them right away. John Ridgeway is a really good player. He’s going to be really good for us.”
It seems that Stromberg is aware of Ridgeway’s wrestling background.
“Sometimes, he will throw you to the side, or whatever, like a wrestler,” Stromberg said. “He’ll do stuff like that.”
It has been extremely hot this week as well as it could be when the Hogs and Rice kickoff at 1 p.m. on Sept. 4. How has the team handled the heat this week?
“Preparation is key,” Stromberg said. “Hydration. We have water, we have Gatorade outside of the meeting rooms. It doesn’t even matter starting off in the indoor or going outside. I mean, it’s humid in the indoor as well. We got outside, and it’s just as hot. It’s about preparation and not cramping. Just be ready for the game at [1 p.m.].”
Arkansas is set to being working on Rice stuff on Thursday. Stromberg talked about how the practices have been leading up to this.
“I think camp went well,” Stromberg said. “Obviously, I wasn’t in too much of camp. But watching the O-line and the guys, they worked their tails off. They grinded every single day. So I’m excited to see what this team can do coming out of fall camp and headed into Rice preparation.”
Arkansas has an experienced offensive line entering the season with all the starters back from 2020.
“I think this year we need to take a step up in protection,” Stromberg said. “I think protection is one thing we really need to take a step up in. Also, keep progressing in the run game and really take a step up in our protection and help our quarterbacks out.”
The Razorbacks will practice again on Thursday evening.