FAYETTEVILLE — Ricky Stromberg signed with Arkansas after he decommitted from Tulsa in the Class of 2019 and few realized then he would have a chance to be a four-year starter for the Hogs.
Stromberg, who is from Tulsa (Okla.) Union, is set to begin his third season as starter for the Razorbacks. He didn’t redshirt in 2019 instead he he played in the season opener then started the next 11. Stromberg talked with reporters on Zoom following Thursday’s practice and talked about his weight.
“I think I’ve lost the fat and gained some more muscle from January to March,” Stromberg said. “I think that’s what happened. I think I just lost a little fat and gained some more muscle. Nothing has been different from last year I just feel a little quicker and stronger.”
Stromberg was asked to gain extensive weight prior to last season since the previous staff wanted the offensive linemen lighter. This year at 316 it’s just five pounds more than the 311 he was listed at in 2020. He expects that to help him.
“Next year hopefully I can trim some fat and gain some muscle and kind of stay in the same weight frame,” Stromberg said. “Become faster and stronger.”
Stromberg feels he has made some progress in an area that Sam Pittman has placed strong emphasis on and that’s improving the running game.
“I think I have progressed in the run game mostly,” Stromberg said. “I think I have progressed in that. Last year I was decent at it, but I think I’ve gotten a lot better this spring. I still want to work on pass protection a little bit more. I think that was one of my strong suits last year. I’ve gotten better in the run game, but I want to continue to grow in every aspect of it.”
Part of improving the offensive line is becoming more physical and Stromberg said that has been a priority.
“Coach (Brad) Davis has been stressing physicality,” Stromberg said. “Physicality as an O-line has been the No. 1 one goal and I think we’ve really amped that up this spring.”
Redshirt junior Luke Jones is making a push at left guard to start and is improved according to Stromberg.
“Luke has really bought in this year,” Stromberg said. “He bought in last year, but he’s growing like crazy. He’s really learning the playbook. He’s really playing physical ball and continuing to get better and better every day.”
Defensive lineman Taurean Carter heaped high praise on Stromberg as well.
“To me, Ricky is the best center I’ve ever went against,” Carter said. “I don’t tell him that, but he’s the best center I’ve ever went against. He uses his body so well. He will let you do what he wants you do and then he will seal you off so the play can come right there behind him. The way he blocks and uses his body. He can get physical some times too.”
Arkansas has one practice remaining and that’s the spring game at 2 p.m. Saturday.