By Otis Kirk
Shane Clenin is a sophomore who is trying to earn a starting spot on Arkansas’ offensive line.
Clenin signed with Arkansas out of Festus (Mo.) High School in the Class of 2017. This spring Clenin is competing for playing time so far at just right guard. He had been mentioned as someone who could see action at center.
“I’m just doing right guard right now,” Clenin said. “I’m snapping a little bit still just so I can go to center if I need to but I’m mostly really doing right guard for now.”
How is the depth inside looking right now?
“So it’s me and Ryan Winkel running right guard,” Clenin said. “Ty Clary at center and Silas Robinson. Left guard is kind of a mix, (Austin) Capps, (Drew) Vest and Austin Nix. Just kind of a collective unit on the inside trying to see what we bring.”
Dustin Fry is gradually building up the numbers on the offensive line. How do you feel the depth is coming along?
“I mean it’s good,” Clenin said. “Right now we’re siting at around 11 or 12 guys, which is kind of what we had last year. But coming into the summer, me and Coach Fry were talking and we’ll have about 18 or 19 guys. That will be huge. I don’t think we’ve ha that since I’ve been here. So it’s good now that we’ve go a good 2-depth and a couple more guys that a can functionally work and that’s good.”\
Clenin talked about how the offensive line has looked to this point after four practices.
“We’re ahead of where we’ve been in past years fundamentally,” Clenin said. “So I am glad where we’re starting right now.”
How do you feel it has gone for you individually?
“This is my third spring which is good,” Clenin said. “I graduated (from high school) early and was here for I guess one more spring than I should be but it’s good. I feel comfortable. I feel powerful. I feel how I should be to possibly be in a starting position.”
What is the biggest difference for you this spring?
“Just confidence,” Clenin said. “I’ve been a guy that confidence has been an issue for me. I get really down on myself sometimes but with age I get more confident and more happy with my ability and more comfortable with my body. So I think thats just the big thing for me. Now I’m kind of in the spot where I feel l know what to do and I can do a good job of it.”
Gone are three starters from an offensive line that was maligned at times last year. While the numbers are improving, do you feel the play can as well?
“We just have to focus on us,” Clenin said. “That’s obviously going to happen no matter what position you play. But we’re really going to focus on us and focus on technique and focus on getting better every day just for ourselves and making sure they have nothing to talk about.”
At this time the coaches are teaching more fundamentals while not trying to install as much up-tempo pace as last spring.
“It’s good for us because we can really focus on our technique and our craft and we really don’t have to worry about going fast and looking around us at everything that’s going on,” Clenin said. “So it’s helped us a lot. Just to kind of grow every day and get better every day.”
Gone are Ty Storey and Cole Kelley, who saw most of the reps at quarterback last season. How have the quarterbacks looked?
“It’s been good,” Clenin said. “Hands out to those guys they’ve been working really hard and it’s good that no matter what quarterback is in we really don’t know. They are all doing good. They are all doing what they have to do. For me it’s nice because you know no matter what guy is in there they are going to do a good job and get the job done.”
Thursday was the first day in full pads. Arkansas did some live work.
“We did a little move the ball for the last three periods,” Clenin said. “It was live. It’s good to get the pads on for the O-line. Of course you hit people regardless whether you have pads on or not but it’s good to get the pads on and see the defense tackle and kind of see the whole team collectively work as a unit. It’s good to get the positives and negatives from everybody.”
Arkansas’ fifth practice on Saturday will be a major scrimmage in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.