FAYETTEVILLE — The status of two offensive linemen who were injured on Saturday remains unknown as No. 16 Arkansas prepares for No. 7 Texas A&M this week in the SEC opener for both teams.
Junior center Ricky Stromberg and senior left tackle Dalton Wagner both left the Georgia Southern game injured on Saturday. Sam Pittman was asked about the status of the two on Monday.
“No, I really don’t,” Pittman said. “I haven’t seen them. I think it’s just going to be, I’ll probably know Wednesday. I don’t think either one of them will practice today. I’m positive neither one of them will practice today.
“Then we’ll kind of go on with Tuesday, Wednesday. I told Coach (Cody) Kennedy we’d better get ready as if neither of them will be able to play, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Following those two injuries, Ty Clary moved to center, Luke Jones left guard, Beaux Limmer right guard, Myron Cunningham left tackle and Brady Latham right tackle.
“I was so proud of Cody and that group, because he had them ready last week,” Pittman said. “We’re going to go back to that mentality of, ‘All we’ve got is all we need.’ If they can play, we sure as heck want them to, but we’re going to be prepared if they’re not able to.”
Clary moved from right guard to right tackle following Wagner’s injury. Then he moved to center when Stromberg went down early in the fourth quarter. That prompted a reporter to ask the position that Clary works at in practice?
“He gets action at all three of those spots,” Pittman said. “His least amount of reps is probably at right tackle. He gets those in one-on-one pass-pro. There’s certainly a big difference in playing tackle and playing guard, but if you keep him on the same side, a lot of the run game is similar. I’m talking about fits – if you can fit an A block, you can fit a B block, so forth. There is a lot more space out there, I understand that, and your pass protection is different.
“What I really liked about Ty last week, he went to center and his first rep at center, the nose beat him. He went back and kept him off KJ (Jefferson). The next rep, he did a great job one-on-one with the nose and we threw the touchdown to Warren Thompson. I like where Clary’s at. Just because he didn’t start last week, again, it goes back to everyone has value. He’s unbelievably valuable to our football team because he can play any position on the field. He didn’t accept it because that’s not the word, he’s still fighting to start, but to do what he did was really remarkable and I’m certainly happy for him, happy for the team.”
A silver lining for Pittman with the two injuries is if that pair is unable to play then the Hogs have some experience using the combination that replaced them for virtually a half against Georgia Southern.
“I’m not speaking for Coach Fisher, but the more game time the quarterback gets, the better of he’s going to be,” Pittman said. “That’s the same way with last week. If we’re going to have to go with the same line that we did last week, them getting in there and (playing) at least a half of football together is going to be big for us, as well as this week of practice. But you guys know and I know that (you can) prepare in practice, but the speed of the game and all those type things, even though we go good-on-good, it certainly changes on a Saturday afternoon. I thought it was good to see them against some good players last Saturday with Georgia Southern, because Georgia Southern has some good D-linemen.”
Arkansas and Texas A&M will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday from AT&T Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.