Making A Push

With several guys finding new spots on the offensive line, University of Arkansas assistant Mike Summers is looking to close out out the spring with improved consistency.

University of Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Summers is not about to ease up on his troops just because spring practice is coming to an end.

In fact, with just two spring workouts and the Red-White game left, Summers is pushing harder.

"We just need to continue to get better as a group," Summers said. "Every day is a developmental day for them. We still have a ways to go before we are a good offensive line.

"We have been very inconsistent," Summers added. "There will be a couple of good plays and a couple of bad ones and generally that equals bad offense. We have to understand our techniques better and be more consistent in execution. I think if we do that we can be a good offensive line, but we haven't show that consistency yet."

The current first-team offensive line features strong guard Mitch Petrus (6-4, 319), tackle DeMarcus Love (6-5, 305) at tackle, center Wade Grayson (6-4, 289), tackle Ray Dominguez (6-5, 329) with Grant Cook (6-4, 322) and Michael Aguirre (6-5, 319) in the mix at the other guard.

After taking a season off due to an eligibility, Petrus has returned and tried to recapture his skills.

"He has made some progress," Summers said. "He has really done a great job in the weight room and continues to improve each day and become a better lineman."

That includes a fall worth of boxing and other activities that were designed to enhance his explosiveness off the line.

"He has got more functional strength now," Summers said. "He has always had great strength, but I think he uses his strength more to his advantage now. You can see that show up in run blocking and in pass protection."

He was moved from weak guard to strong guard during the second week of practice.

"We are just trying to find the best spot for all five of them," Summers said. "He was doing a good job at weak guard and has been doing a good job since moving over to strong guard. I really like what is going on over there with him and DeMarcus Love. I think that is a nice combination there."

Summers really likes what he has seen from Love, who has made the move from guard to tackle.

"I have been really pleased with what he has done," Summers said. "He has adapted to the move to tackle really well. He works hard on his technique, he cares about our football team and I am excited about what he brings for us out there." Grayson moved from guard and has taken over at center for Jonathon Luigs, who was a standout at the spot for Arkansas the past four years.

"I think it is a work in progress," Summers said. "Jonathan had that spot for a long time. Wade Grayson has done a good job transitioning in there and continues to get better, but he too has to be more consistent with what he does.

"I think we will eventually get to where we need to, but we need to be more consistent there as well," Summers said. "I think we have a couple guys that are working to get there. We have got two or three guys training and I think they are coming along as well."

Dominquez is a returning starter coming off a solid season.

"I think Dominquez looks like he has progressed off of last year," Summers said. "He has done a better job. We have had some injuries at that weak guard spot and we've been rolling two or three guys in there, but that needs to be a more consistent spot for us than it has been."

The second-team offensive line features some massive size in Matt Hall (6-9, 328) and Grant Freeman (6-7, 289).

"They are all trying to do it the right way with different levels of success, but I am encouraged by the guys we have got coming (along) and seeing their development," Summers said. "They will provide a lot of depth for us."

Summers is also excited about an incoming group of lineman that includes junior college transfer Zhamal Thomas (6-4, 315) and freshmen Colby Berna (6-5, 285), Alvin Bailey (6-5, 335), Travis Swanson (6-5, 298), Shauntez Bruce (6-5, 300) and Anthony Oden (6-8, 328).

"The one thing you notice immediately is their size," Summers said. "They are already bigger than the guys we have got here right now. They will have to get their strength level where they can compete at this level, but they certainly have the potential to do that with their size.

"It will just be a matter of time," Summers said. "It is rare to have a young guy come in and be able to step into that spot at this level. But we have got some good guys coming and we can work on it and development and we are excited about that."


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