There's a whole lot less of Arkansas senior offensive guard Sebastian Tretola to love going into this fall camp.
After arriving last August at 376 pounds, the 6-foot-5 Tretola was down to a svelte 325 as the Razorbacks open 2015 preseason practices on Thursday.
“It's completely different,” Tretola said. “Last fall camp, after warmups I was gassed, breathing hard, pouring down sweat. I needed a sponge after every rep. This is a whole different feeling. It's still hot, and I still get tired, but I recover faster. So it's nice.”
Tretola, who was showing off his dance moves during warm-ups on Thursday, is sure that he can be far more effective at the lighter right.
“I think the longevity and the ability to play tired (are big),” Tretola said. “Obviously when I was 370 and I was tired, it was a whole different tired than what I am now. Now when I'm tried I'm able to still pull myself together and get my plays right and footwork and all that stuff.”
Tretola credits strength and conditioning coach Ben Hebert for his new frame.
“That's the diet,” Tretola said. “I put that all on the diet and Coach Herb is big on that. He's real big on diet and maintaining a good diet. I make sure to keep that strict and be good on that.”
Tretola clearly has a high level of respect for Herbert.
“Coach Herb is a mastermind,” Tretola said. “What he does with us is unbelievable. Obviously you have to want to work, but if you want to work he is going to take care of you. He is going to shape you and mold you into a beast as he likes to call it.”
Tretola went over what he eats now during a typical day.
“I have a solid breakfast every morning,” Tretola said. “I kind of carb load heavier, have a midday snack, lunch, afternoon snack and no carbs in the evening. Lots of fruit and things like that. No pancakes but eggs definitely.
“Maybe toast somewhere down the line and a couple of strips of bacon - don't tell Coach Herb. But things like that.”
Tretola gained national fame last season when he threw a touchdown pass and may be a dual-threat signal caller this season.
“They (defenses) better be nervous,” Tretola said. “That's all I've got to say.”
Tretola is part of one of the SEC’s most highly-regarded offensive lines that also features two more potential high NFL draft picks in guards Denver Kirkland and Dan Skipper.
Senior center Mitch Smothers and redshirt freshman guard Frank Ragnow round out the current first-team offensive line for Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman.
“In the league and the nation I feel like we are the best,” Tretola said. “I don't want that to come out as cocky or conceited or whatever but what Coach Pittman recruited us here for is because we have a certain type of attitude.
“We don't like losing. We hate to look bad. When you have five guys that hate to look bad, that culminates in something great.”
There is a lot of experience on the line this season even as the positions have switched up a bit.
“There's comfortability, definitely,” Tretola said. “You almost to the T know what the guy next to you is going to do. You know his ways, his habits, and how he plays. Having that in the back of your head makes you play that much faster and that much better.”
The Razorback offensive line also has a plethora of talented, young back-up offensive linemen - four of which are true freshmen and a pair of redshirt freshmen.
“They're so much better,” Tretola said. “And I've said this before. Coming in, not even out of my senior prom yet, I can only imagine playing Division I football. So I give those guys all the credit in the world. They're just getting better and better by the day.”
Tretola, who began his college career at Nevada, welcomed the near 100-degree temperature on Thursday.
“That's part of football,” Tretola said. “With football comes fall camp, and with fall camp comes heat. So I think that just adds to the mentality we want to put on teams this year.
“We're not going to stop, regardless of the conditions. Whether it might be raining, snowing, or be 100 degrees out there, we're going to be going 150 percent every time.”
Tretola is excited about more diversity in the offense under new offensive coordinator Dan Enos.
“It involves a little bit more running and thank God I am not 370 doing that, because that wouldn't be fun,” Tretola said. “It definitely involves a little more running for us and we get out there with the little guys which is always fun, chopping up the corners and safeties and stuff like that.”
Arkansas will not have two-a-days if things go smooth.
“I have been to four fall camps so when I first heard no two-a-days I was in shock,” Tretola said. “I didn't know what was going on. But he said it's obvious under the condition that we work hard every day.
“I just keep repeating to the young guys, 'It can be a lot tougher than what we have right now. Keep remembering that when it's it hot and you're tired and feeling sluggish. Just remember it can be a whole lot worse and go 100 percent because you don't want to go out twice in full pads."
Lighter Tretola Ready For Action
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