Former Springdale Har-Ber star Brey Cook (6-7, 318) and former Springdale High standout Mitch Smothers (6-4, 313) – both who turned down Alabama to sign with Arkansas - are currently the first team guards this spring.
Cook is a junior right guard who has six career starts while playing in 23 games while Smothers is a redshirt sophomore who redshirted last season after starting the first four games of his college career and playing in seven as a true freshman.
"You have got to be a grown man to play in this league," Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said Wednesday. "And if you are going to get things done in a physical run game, you need some physical guards."
Cook certainly is that according to Chaney.
"He is a very rugged football player," Chaney said. "We love his demeanor. You need mean, you need tough, you need nasty."
"It's exciting," Cook said. "It's a change and definitely different, but I am excited to just go out there and just really prove myself at that guard spot.
"Coach Pittman is not the first one to tell me that I play guard," Cook added. "It's a good deal."
Cook believes having a brand new staff is something that allows everybody a fresh start.
"I'm ready to just come out and play this year," Cook said. "It's not politics anymore. It's just football. I am ready to just play." He loves working with Pittman, who arrived from Tennessee.
"He's a character," Cook said. "He is a great guy to play for and he's exciting and keeps it fun. He definitely has sparked my interest in the game again."
Smothers agrees with that sentiment.
He is a great guy and has a great personality," Smothers said. "He is a funny guy, but most of all he is a great coach.
"Coach Pittman likes to slow it down in a good way so you can get a lot of teaching," Smothers added. "It is still a fast tempo, but he'll slow it down when he needs to and explain it to us."
Smothers is a big fan of the whole staff.
"They are very, very personable," Smothers said. "They have an open door policy and you can come talk to them about anything you want at any time. It is a great change and I like these coaches a lot."
Chaney states that the coaching staff could see something right away in Smothers.
"We have liked Mitch since he walked in the door," Chaney said. "We had him snapping the football and then we moved him over to guard a little bit where he hasn't played much since we have asked him to snap.
"He seems to be doing good," Chaney added. "He's got a good body, a good make up and his got a good stature. He's doing a lot of good things for us. He's learning a new position and learning new schemes so he plays slow at times like most people learning. But I think (starting senior center Travis) Swanson is the only one in the offensive line that can play full speed all the time."
Smothers had spent the first four spring practices getting most of his work at center behind Swanson.
"The first half of practices I spent three-fourths of my time at center and the rest at guard," Smothers said. "I liked working at center a lot. I can learn every position instead of just one of them. I learn all the calls."
He was moved to left guard full-time last Thursday as Arkansas lined up with a first-team line of Cook and Smothers at the guards, David Hurd and Grady Ollison at tackles and Swanson at center.
Cook believes last Saturday's scrimmage was a success at least in terms of being physical.
"I think I did good and overall as a team we were very physical," Smothers said. "We had good tempo and no one had loafs on their grade sheet."
Cook says there is a mindset among the offensive line.
"We are ready to come out and prove ourselves, and show everyone that we can run the ball and be physical," Cook said. "We want to be a strength of the team this season."