Bring on Tennessee Tech.
It's not that University of Arkansas senior defensive end Damario Ambrose doesn't respect the Razorbacks' season-opening opponent.
In fact, Ambrose (6-5, 250) thinks the Eagles will be a challenge on Saturday night. It's just that he is ready play a real game.
"We are really excited, man," Ambrose said. "I can't wait to come out there and beat up on somebody else besides each other. We are really excited because this is the game we are going to get to show all the hard work we have put in during the off-season and throughout camp.
"We are ready to show people that we are for real this year and not just a whole bunch of hype," Ambrose added.
Part of that excitement is because Ambrose believes the UA defensive line is loaded with talent and depth.
"As a whole unit, we want to be the best unit in the SEC," Ambrose said. "That is what we want to be."
He and Jake Bequette will be the starting ends and backed up by Tenarius "Tank" Wright, Colton Miles-Nash and rookie Chris Smith.
The defensive tackle spots have DeDe Jones as one starter and either Alfred Davis or true freshman Byran Jones getting the nod at the other.
Lavunce Askew and Patrick Jones and others are set to provide depth.
"Let's just start with Jake," Ambrose said. "He is going to be a beast this year. He has gotten a lot better. He has gotten a lot faster. He has been a leader for us and Tank, he is coming off the edge really good.
"We also have a young guy name Chris Smith, who most people probably know from recruiting. He is one of the fastest guys I have seen at that position in a long time."
Ambrose is excited about the improvement of Davis, who got in shape over the summer and appears ready to reach his potential.
"Big Al has slimmed down, he is better and stronger," Ambrose said. "Personally, I feel like I have gotten better. I lost some of that weight that was slowing me down last year. I feel more explosive."
Ambrose says he crested at nearly 280 pounds last season, but will play at around 250 this season.
"It's just that I wasn't eating right," Ambrose said. "If you get bigger and it's more fat, that is just going to hurt you. If you get bigger and have more muscle, that is going to help you…It's about how much fat percentage you have so you can be more explosive and stronger. I am actually stronger now."
Ambrose's increased quickness adds to a defense that has gotten faster with the move of cornerback Rudell Crim to safety, safety Anthony Leon to outside linebacker and planting former OLB Jerry Franklin in the middle.
"We have a real fast defense," Ambrose said. "It is going to be great to see guys running around like Anthony Leon at linebacker. That is going to be good for us. We've got guys like Jerry now in the middle. We are going to be fast."
Ambrose Is Anxious
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