State of the Hogs: Grady Ollison

Grady Ollison looks huge, but speed is still there for sophomore right tackle. Two days into fall practices, there are no issues with summer gains.

Grady Ollison isn't sure where he'll be when strength coach Ben Herbert is done with the young offensive tackle. But it's not going to be at 304 pounds.

Ollison generally sports a smile, so it's difficult to compare the change in expressions from the past as he greeted media on Tuesday after the second day of Arkansas fall camp. Just say he was beaming from ear to ear as he described what "Coach Herb" did with the sophomore right tackle.

"My goal was 300 to 305 for the summer," Ollison said. "I feel pretty good right now at 304. Only thing I'm having trouble with is my shoes. I've gone from a size 13 to 14 shoes. I'm still growing."

Ollison reminded reporters that he was still a youngster and more growth is expected.

"I'm just 20 right now and I won't be 21 until December," he said. "With the way Coach Herb trains us, the guys are joking that when you have the top strength coach in the country, I might be 315. I do think I could end up there.

"I still have my burst. Coach Herb assures us that no matter what we gain, we are still going to be able to move."

Ollison said line coach Sam Pittman commented on his burst in both of the first two workouts.

"He said I still got it," Ollison said. "We haven't put on pads yet, but I think I'm fine."

It's been fine all summer, too. He recalls the day that he hit 300.

"It was the third week of the second summer school semester, around July 20th," Ollison said. "I looked at the scale and it was 300.2 pounds. Coach Herb slapped me on the leg because we'd been doing so many squats. I texted my mom and dad that I was where I needed to be.

"We've been getting our pictures taken since the day Coach Herb got here and I looked at the ones from (January) and then the one from last Thursday. It's not even the same. My shoulders, my arms, my thighs -- it's all much bigger."

But there is no belly.

"I am 304 with no belly," he said. "None. I don't think there are any guys with a belly around here. I'm 304 and I can absolutely still run."

Center Travis Swanson, the senior leader of the offensive line, was standing just a few feet away. He confirmed Ollison's claim.

"No, not anyone with a belly," Swanson said. "I'm up to 315 and that's eight more than last spring. I don't have a belly.

"It's about how Coach Herb has gotten our nutrition, hydration and when we eat. It's all part of what we do. His entire staff has made us understand it's about when we eat, when we workout, when we rest and how much. It's changed our bodies, the entire team. It's about being educated on how to take care of our bodies.

"Obviously, you can tell that we are a different looking team around here now. All of us."

There is another different look. Swanson always had thick locks and most are gone. He and the rest of his teammates in the offensive line shaved the side of their heads.

"Kind of a modified Mohawk," he said. "It's a sign of how we have bonded. We all wanted to do it. We had the idea together. We have an awesome group, great chemistry.

"Now, this is just the second day and there is a lot more work to be done. That's what it's about playing in the SEC, hard work every day. We know what is out there, all grown men waiting on us every week in the SEC. It's never going to be easy, one single day. It's the best league in the country."

Swanson's assessment of Ollison's progress is positive.

"He's going to be a great player," Swanson said. "That's one day. He's got a lot of hard work ahead of him. He's changed his body, but he's still an athlete. He's still got a lot to learn. He's going to get there."

Ollison knows to soak up everything possible from Swanson.

"He knows every thing about the defense," he said. "If you listen, he's going to tell you everything they are doing on the other side of the ball. He's a great, great player."

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