Brian Wallace Takes to Move to Right Guard in Arkansas Spring Drills

Whether or not it's a chemistry experiment or a move that sticks, the Arkansas offensive line looked different Tuesday. Brian Wallace moved to right guard with Colton Jackson taking over at left tackle.

Brian Wallace tried right guard for a few plays Monday, liked the feel and then spent all of Tuesday at his new position. If that's his new home, the redshirt sophomore is just fine.

Wallace had only played tackle in his football career. That covers an All-American high school career and his first two years at Arkansas. He had flipped from the right side to the left to start spring drills.

The athletic 6-6, 326-pounder from Florissant, Mo., was game for the trial when right guard was suggested during practice Monday.

"I tried it out yesterday for a few plays," Wallace said. "It went well."

Then, there came a text from new offensive line coach Kurt Anderson on Tuesday that the thought was to try right guard for the entire practice.

"He said I did good at guard," Wallace said. "It's a big change. I never played there before, but I will do whatever they ask.

"I just want to get on the field. I had a chance for a few plays on the field last year and it was a rush. I liked the taste. I want to be out there for good."

Wallace admitted that left tackle was different because the footwork is exactly opposite from the right side.

"It's a mirror of the other side," he said. "So it takes some time to get used to. Right guard is different from tackle, but some of the footwork is similar.

"I'm trying to get a feel for it. Then we'll go from there. But it doesn't matter where I play.

"I thought today was good. It felt comfortable. It went good. It's only going to get better and I am going to do my best."

Right tackle Dan Skipper gave Wallace a thumbs up for his work Tuesday.

"You have to see the tape," Skipper said. "But I think he did real good.

"He's an athlete. He has the talent to play anywhere. He's perfectly capable of playing in that position. I see it as a great fit.

"Today was a tough practice, a hard 21 periods. It's easy. It wears you out. But he seem to just get better and better. It was awesome to see. You saw flashes of what it is going to be. He was just laughing during the last few periods because I think he really liked it."

With Wallace moving from left tackle, redshirt freshman Colton Jackson was moved to the first team there. Johnny Gibson flipped from the right side behind Skipper to back up Jackson at left tackle.

Hjalte Froholdt remained at left guard, with Jalen Merrick as the backup. The right guard backup was Jalen Deion Malone. Klint Harvey was the backup at right tackle. The Hogs will add another tackle this summer when junior college transfer Paul Ramirez arrives. Frank Ragnow remained the first team center with Zach Rogers as backup. Froholdt and Merrick also took snaps in the early portions of practice.

Skipper said it's been a fun week of practices. The Hogs have five of the 15 days in the books.

"I just look forward to each day, an opportunity to get better," Skipper said. "Our first scrimmage had a lot of positives. We have our hands full with our defensive front and our linebackers are definitely better.

"We did some things that are going to help us. I think you saw what Frank can do at center. You can tell he knows what he's doing there."

Is there a sense that offensive line play with three new starters is a key area for the spring?

"I think we have work to do," he said. "We know that. We've got a couple of guys to replace."

Reminded again that it's three missing starters -- Denver Kirkland, Sebastian Tretola and Mitch Smothers -- there was a sparkle in Skipper's bright blue eyes.

"Yeah, but we are going to be fine," he said. "We've got talent. We have athletic ability. We have great competition. We've got a great room of 12 guys and more coming."

Skipper was asked if Austin Allen had "jumped anyone in the offensive huddle." That produced another sparkle.

"He could do that, but he's not going to have to," Skipper said. "I'll have that huddle right. We have plenty of leadership and I know he can do that, too. I'll take care of things for him."

The Hogs worked inside Walker Pavilion with the wind howling at nearly 30 mph for the afternoon. They will take Wednesday off, then practice Thursday and Saturday. A scrimmage is planned for Saturday.

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