FAYETTEVILLE -- Starting senior left guard Hjalte Froholdt may be the new starting center for the Arkansas Razorbacks after cross training at the position to provide the offensive line with emergency depth.
The two-year starting left guard played first-team center Thursday, Arkansas' second day of practice in full pads. New Arkansas head coach Chad Morris referred to the position switch as "moving" rather than emergency training.
"Moving him there is going to help us out right now and help this entire football team," Morris said, addressing media after Thursday's practice.
Morris said Froholdt is now training mostly at center.
"Right now, we've made that transition," Morris said. "It doesn't mean he's not playing some guard. He'll get some reps at guard. But he took over (center) the last few days. He's taken a majority of reps at center."
Third-year sophomore Dylan Hays started the preseason as the first-team center off of his spring performances, but he has been idled this week by an ailing back. Hays is not an incumbent as both last year's centers graduated.
"I'm hoping to get Dylan back," Morris said. "If it's not for Saturday, for Monday."
Center is such a vital position that Froholdt, considered Arkansas' best lineman, may well continue there since Hays and redshirt freshman Shane Clenin, who practiced at first-team center on Monday and Tuesday, could both play guard. Both were guards earlier in their Razorbacks practice careers. Clenin worked at guard Wednesday and Thursday while Froholdt did the snapping with sophomore Ty Clary as the backup center.
Redshirt freshman Kirby Adcock, of Nashville, also worked Thursday at left guard.
Morris said Froholdt fared well in his first two practices at the new position.
"You know, he's looking good," Morris said. "I think today was better than yesterday. He studies the game and wants to be the best. His snaps were more on time. Some of his snaps had been kind of delayed, but today was much, much better."
Morris said the expected leaders on defense stood out in the first two practices in full pads. He cited senior defensive ends Randy Ramsey and Gabe Richardson, inside linebackers Scoota Harris and Dre Greenlaw, backup inside linebackers Grant Morgan and Dee Walker and outside linebackers and nickel backs D'Vone McClure and Hayden Henry.
In the secondary, Morris said he can see why last year's 4-8 Razorbacks under former coach Bret Bielema so missed cornerback Ryan Pulley, out for the 2017 season upon injury during the second quarter of the season opener. Pulley was a lockdown corner during spring drills and apparently still shines in the practices, which have been closed to media other than the first 20 minutes and will be completely closed both for today's light practice and Saturday's scrimmage.
"Out there at corner, I've been pleased with Ryan Pulley," Morris said. "I think he definitely has a great mindset about him right now. D'Vone McClure is another one who just shows up. He just keeps showing up in a live setting."
Media during Thursday's 20 minutes did get to see true freshman quarterbacks Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones and redshirt freshman Daulton Hyatt alternate with the top offensive units, which are normally quarterbacked by fourth-year junior Ty Storey and third-year sophomore Cole Kelley.
Noland quarterbacked a drive capped by Connor Limpert's 37-yard field goal, and Preston Stafford's 39-yard field goal capped Hyatt's turn at the helm.
As expected, heralded junior college transfer defensive end Dorian Gerald pays a conditioning price for having to spend the summer in California completing his academics at the College of Canyons while most of the team trained in Fayetteville.
"We are trying to get him in shape right now," Morris said. "He's in shape but not anything like we need him to be. He's just been here like a week and a half, so we are bearing down on him. He's got a lot of potential, but he's got a lot to learn, too."
Sports on 08/10/2018
Print Headline: Froholdt makes move to center