Arkansas freshman offensive lineman Brey Cook didn't have the view that he wanted to at the Cotton Bowl.
Instead of being in the trenches in the win over Kansas State, Cook was battling what was later identified as mononucleosis, but was a mystery at first.
"It definitely set me back a little," Cook said. "It was very inconvenient, but at the same time I did lose a little weight – actually a lot of weight. I came back in a lot quicker and that is something they have noticed and they are happy about. I am happy about it as well."
Cook went from 325 down to just under 300, but is back up to 305.
Because the five-star prospect and former Springdale Har-Ber star was an early graduate, Cook is actually going through his second spring practice.
Arkansas got back to spring practice on Tuesday, finishing up the third of 15 workouts.
It was the first practice in pads this spring and came after a week off for spring break.
"It was nice to come back and nice to be in pads, especially," Cook said. "That's a little better for the offensive linemen, who like to get down in the trenches. It was real good for us to establish a run game instead of going out there and just tapping each other. It was good to really get after it."
Cook admits he has gone from a lost rookie in 2010 to someone who knows his way around.
"Last year, I didn't know what I was doing and I was just surviving," Cook said. "I was just trying to learn things as I went along. Now I know a lot more and I am comfortable with what I am doing. Obviously there is a lot to learn and a lot that I need to improve on, but I have basis and foundation for what I am doing."
Cook didn't play as much as most thought he might last season, but he said he considers it a positive.
"Last year, I have no complaints about," Cook said. "I was able to go back and learn strong tackle instead of just jumping into quick tackle as I try to do in the spring.
"I was able to sit back and learn," Cook added. "I am better this year for that instead of just being thrown out there."
With junior Jason Peacock going through an off-field-legal situation, Cook is stepping up as a leader.
"That's weird to think about, but that is part of the reason I am here," Cook said. "I've always wanted to be a leader at the U of A. It is something that I have dreamed of since I was a kid. The opportunity is here, It has presented itself and I am going to take advantage of it."
He likes what he sees out of fellow tackles David Hurd, Chris Stringer, Austin Beck and Grady Ollison.
"You have different guys rotating in," Cook said. "We have David Hurd working at quick tackle and we are just sorting it out. That is what spring practice is for – to find positions and for people to step up."
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