For­mer O-line guru sees a great Dane

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - THE SECOND PAGE - NATE ALLEN

FAYETTEVILLE — An old pro like Larry Beightol re­quires no con­fir­ma­tion of his foot­ball thoughts. But he got con­fir­ma­tion any­way. One of the great­est of­fen­sive line coaches in a pro­gram known for pro­duc­ing some of the best col­lege of­fen­sive line coaches, Beightol coached some all-time great Ra­zor­backs — in­clud­ing All-Amer­i­cans Leo­tis Har­ris and Steve Korte — dur­ing his five Univer­sity of Arkansas, Fayetteville sea­sons un­der Lou Holtz.

He moved on to the NFL, where he coached of­fen­sive lines for 20 years be­fore re­tir­ing in Fayetteville.

So any Beightol re­marks while ob­serv­ing a Ra­zor­backs prac­tice are worth not­ing.

He said plenty about Ra­zor­backs ju­nior left guard Hjalte Fro­holdt, and it was just the first day of prac­tice in shorts with no pads. “He looks great,” Beightol said. Stronger, leaner, con­sid­er­ably quicker and more con­fi­dent, Beightol opined.

All of the above, Fro­holdt con­firmed af­ter the Ra­zor­backs prac­ticed in pads Thurs­day. Fro­holdt, 6-5, un­know­ingly con­firmed Beightol’s anal­y­sis while re­spond­ing to an­other re­porter’s ob­ser­va­tion that he ap­peared more phys­i­cally im­pos­ing than last sea­son.

“’I’ve ac­tu­ally dropped 15 pounds since last year,” Fro­holdt said. “I’m about 310, 315 now. It feels good. Get­ting in with coach Herb [strength coach Ben Her­bert] and the nutrition staff we have here and re­ally buy­ing into the whole nutrition part.”

It’s not just food for thought but re­al­ity that Fro­holdt is quicker off the ball since he’s be­come smarter with a knife and fork.

“I feel a lot more agile, and I feel a lot bet­ter,” Fro­holdt said. “Coach Herb is al­ways in there preach­ing about soft tis­sue work and stretch­ing. And that’s helped me out in mo­bil­ity. It’s not about be­ing big but mov­ing around on the field.”

As an SEC of­fen­sive line­man, even with im­proved agility, it still helps to weigh more than 300.

“He’s a moun­tain of a man in terms of his stature and his girth and his abil­ity to move peo­ple,” Arkansas of­fen­sive line coach Kurt An­der­son said. “The way he’s put to­gether, I think you can tell that he’s put in a lot of hard work. He’s been im­pres­sive.”

Par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing Fro­holdt grew up in Den­mark, didn’t ex­ten­sively play foot­ball un­til he was a high school ex­change stu­dent. He let­tered as a 2015 fresh­man re­serve de­fen­sive line­man for the Ra­zor­backs, then moved to the of­fen­sive line in the spring of 2016. He started ev­ery game at guard in the fall.

Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and An­der­son know too much was asked last year of Fro­holdt, who was thrust into the start­ing lineup be­cause of a lack of of­fen­sive line depth.

But his 2016 ex­pe­ri­ence in Arkansas’ 7-6 sea­son makes Fro­holdt a wiser, more con­fi­dent and sim­ply bet­ter of­fen­sive line­man, said An­der­son and Beightol.

In their pro­fes­sional opin­ion, they fore­see a great Dane in Amer­ica’s game.

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