Former O-line guru sees a great Dane
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.