Pittman Anxious To Mold New Offensive Line

Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman now has his full group on campus with the Saturday arrivals of Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 315) and Cameron Jefferson (6-6, 300) as is excited about molding the old and new offensive linemen into a top-notch group.

Now that he has his full complement of offensive lineman on campus with the Saturday arrivals of Sebastian Tretola (6-5, 315) and Cameron Jefferson (6-6, 300), Arkansas assistant coach Sam Pittman can’t wait to begin working with them.

He’ll get to do that on Monday afternoon as the Razorbacks officially start their 2014 fall camp.

“I want them to get to know each other,” Pittman said. “I want them to be able to trust each other. To be honest with you, you get in almost half of your practices during the time before you play your first game of the season (Aug. 30 at Auburn).

“I think we will have plenty of time to get that going,” Pittman added. “They are going to have to be able to talk to each other. They don’t necessarily have to like each other, but they have to be able to visit with each other and trust each other and I think we can get that done by the time our first game rolls around. I am pretty sure we can.”

Jefferson is a three-year starter who graduated from UNLV and has immediate eligibility for one season at Arkansas while Tretola arrives from Iowa Western Community College with two years left to play.

Both will get looks at center, left guard and right guard per Pittman – who hosted the offensive linemen for a pool party and cookout at his house on Saturday.

“I think he (Tretola) and Cam are both very versatile,” Pittman said. “Obviously our number one goal is to play our best player we possibly can at center, number two the best player we can at guard and if that entails Tretola or Jefferson or those spots, then we will try and get some depth at the tackle spots with the other guys.”

Jefferson had started two years at left guard and one at right tackle for UNLV before making the decision to transfer initially because the Rebels were placed on an APR bowl ban that was later overturned with some new data.

“We had to make it interesting enough for him to leave being a captain and his comfortability – if that’s a word,” Pittman said. “Obviously we think we can upgrade his draft stock and obviously he feels the same about it.

“We put on film of the three guys that played left guard, center and right guard this spring – which was a little bit of a revolving door – and I just asked him can you beat these guys out? Obviously he thinks he can or he probably wouldn’t have come here and leave there where he had a comfortable situation as a three-year starter and a captain.”

Coming out of spring, junior Mitch Smothers was the starting center, Denver Kirkland and Grady Ollison were at the guards and Dan Skipper and Brey Cook at the tackles.

The Razorbacks are adding center Frank Ragnow and U.S. Army All-American tackle Brian Wallace to the group along with Jefferson and Tretola.

“We obviously liked Mitch and he’s done a nice job in there,” Pittman said. “You want to upgrade at every position if you can. We obviously recruited Frank Ragnow to be a center and he has done an incredible job to this point and we always have (Luke) Charpentier that could play center. “…We feel like we have three centers in there that can help us and we will see how Frank comes along, but we are going to five him every opportunity to play.”

Pittman did go along with the movement of redshirt sophomore Cordale Boyd (6-3, 295) from the offensive line to the defensive one.

“Cordale would be probably the top prospect in my room to go over there,” Pittman said. “I’ve heard a lot of people say that Grady came in (as a defensive tackle), but we felt like interior-wise we could send somebody over to defense. Cordale is big and athletic and we thought he could help us.”

Pittman makes it clear he is open to any combination.

“We will let the games begin now that practice is here and see what happens from there,” Pittman added. “I’m looking forward to working with these guys.”


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