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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hog Calls

Wednesday, July 3, 2002

FAYETTEVILLE -- Age before beauty long has been an adage applied to college football offensive linemen.

Fifth-year seniors and fourth-year juniors start. Freshmen redshirt. That's the Nebraska way. The way all college programs want it with the intricate offensive line positions where experience counts.

Then along comes a Shawn Andrews and that tried and true logic looks more outdated than a leisure suit. Imagine how last year's 7-5 Razorbacks would have struggled had Camden Fairview's Andrews redshirted.

Without the 6-5, 350-pounder as a starter, Arkansas averaged 103 yards total offense. With him starting and making second-team All-SEC, Arkansas averaged 370 yards per game.

So because "Hurricane" Andrews blew apart convention last year, everyone eyes incoming Razorback freshman offensive tackles Tony Ugoh of Houston and Zac Tubbs of Cullman, Ala., a little differently than they might have been eyed before.

That's both encouraging and unfair, Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Markuson said.

"You don't waste a lot of time fooling around with redshirting a Tony Ugoh," Markuson said, "if you can get him in position to play where he knows our offense. Everybody is talking about him. But I've got realistic expectations about these freshmen kids playing in the offensive line. Sure you had Shawn Andrews, but that's a freak. It tells you it can be done, but Shawn is an exceptional guy."

So does Markuson prefer a freshman expecting to do it the old fashioned way or one harboring great expectations?

Markuson mulled.

"It's good that freshmen have the expectation that they are going to come in and play," Markuson said. "We want them to feel that way. But let's see what happens."

Ugoh, 6-5, 280, is the most heralded, but Tubbs, 6-6, 320, is even bigger and apparently throwing his weight around.

"Zac Tubbs," Markuson said, "from what I heard played very well in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game. He had like five pancake blocks. He's 330 pounds. Those are two big tackles with Tony and Zac."

However, barring one them playing like Shawn Andrews II, Newport fourth-year junior Bo Lacy will start ahead of them both.

"Bo is showing it in the weightroom," Markuson said. "He's showing it on the field. He had a good spring. Bo is the starting left tackle."

That flies in convention's face, too.

The best tackle is supposed to be the left tackle protecting a righthanded quarterback's blind side.

"I like the fact that Shawn and Mark (Bokermann, the junior starting right guard) played together for a year on that right side. That's a lot with Bokermann, Andrews and Jason Peters at tight end. That's a lot of big bodies over there. For right now, we are going to keep it that way. You have Bo, Jerry (Reith) and now you have Tony at left tackle. You got three guys on the left side who can handle it."

Left guard, Clarendon junior Scott Davenport, Rogers senior Nathan Ball, also a center possibility, incoming junior college transfer Gene Perry and veteran squadman Caleb Perry (no relation) has plenty of competition.

So does the center with Batesville fifth-year senior Josh Melton, displaced last year by Hurricane Andrews' arrival that displaced the entire right side of the line to the line's middle, but trying to keep his old job ahead of Clinton junior Dan Doughty, redshirt freshman Kyle Roper and incoming Hot Springs freshman Tyler Morgan.

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