Razorbacks

THIRD TIME THE CHARM?

Maybe the third time with the third round of coaches will prove a charm. For certainly it would help the Razorbacks if this new staff’s first impression of Shane Clenin lasted to and through whenever this in coronavirus limbo football season ever gets played.

Fourth-year junior offensive lineman Clenin of Festus, Mo. has the size (listed 6-6, 314), smarts (SEC Academic Honor Roll majoring in engineering) and versatility, he’s practiced at every O-line position, to fit on Arkansas offensive lines craving linemen with those attributes.

Former Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and former offensive line coach Kurt Anderson saw that immediately in the 2017 preseason camp and projected Clenin to play right away. But like most true freshman O-linemen, Clenin wasn’t ready. Instead, then freshman walk-on now 3-year letterman center Ty Clary was thrust into varsity action while Clenin redshirted.

Former Arkansas Coach Chad Morris and former offensive line coach Dustin Fry took their turns touting Clenin in the springs and early preseasons. Clenin started the 2018 season-opener at left tackle. He played only five other games that redshirt freshman year. In 2018 Clenin got one start playing 11 games.

Now it’s new Coach Sam Pittman, Arkansas’ offensive line coach 2013-2015 all pre Clenin, and new offensive line coach Brad Davis’ turn to have a favorable first impression. They still haven’t overseen a Clenin practice since the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the Razorbacks’ spring practice before it ever began, but they spent sufficient February into mid March offseason time watching Clenin work after the February recruiting signing date to go wow.

“Shane Clenin has really done some things,” Pittman said. “Clenin looks really good right now.” Offensive linemen traditionally take the longest to groom of any position group. Hence the tendency to redshirt them unless they are truly precociously talented, or, more often during the Hogs’ recently so lean years, the O-line depth scrapes so thin that they must play.

Often the reward is worth the wait. Many apprenticing three years through  hard knocks, injuries, which Clenin had, and position switches blossom those fourth and fifth years .Clenin paying off now would be a Pittman big  bonus charged to the Bielema and Morris accounts.

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