FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Kody Walker spent the offseason changing his eating habits and losing weight, and those sacrifices could pay off in a big way for the Arkansas senior running back in 2016.
Walker — a sixth-year senior — is competing with sophomore Rawleigh Williams III and true freshmen Devwah Whaley and T.J. Hammonds to be the Razorbacks’ primary ball carrier this season. The role of No. 1 running back is a big one in any Bret Bielema offense; at least one back has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in every one of Bielema’s seasons as a head coach.
Walker broke his foot last spring but was cleared at the end of June. He weighed around 265 pounds last season, but is down around 240 currently.
As a junior last season, Walker was the Hogs’ second-leading rusher, recording 394 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
Following Arkansas’ third practice of fall camp, Walker met with reporters and discussed his recovery, his weight loss and the Hogs’ running back competition.
Q: When is the last time you were this thin?
A: Man. It’s been awhile. Probably since high school, you know. I haven’t really played at this weight yet in college, so I feel pretty good about it.
Was it hard to cut that weight?
I mean, it took some discipline, definitely. It feels great now. Working with (strength coach Ben Herbert). Getting my eating habits right. Working out, stuff like that. But I feel great right now.
Do you feel faster?
Yeah I feel quicker, all that. Just cutting that much weight, you definitely are gonna feel a difference.
What did you have to change about your diet?
Oh man, just cutting out the fried food, late-night eating, sweets, all that stuff.
Was that difficult?
Oh definitely. It takes discipline to do it every day, every night. It’s tough but it helps in the long run.
What has been your impression of the young running backs?
I’m very impressed with these young guys, man. They’re just willing to learn every day and get better. They ask questions all the time. They’re just catching up with the pace. It’s the first couple of days, how we practice and stuff like that.
How has Rawleigh Williams III looked?
He looks good, man. Rawleigh’s a young guy but he has an old head, you know what I’m saying? He’s been in this offense. He’s picked everything up, so he’s doing great.
What are you doing to make sure you stay healthy during camp?
I have to be very smart. (Bielema) is definitely helping me, getting me some days off here and there during camp but he’s definitely helping me take care of my body and stuff like that. I just want to be fresh by the time the first game rolls around.
If you guys end up having a running back-by-committee system, could that be beneficial?
Definitely. The more backs you have, the fresher you stay. It will help you out in the long run, and especially in this conference. The deeper we go, we might have to have those fresh bodies.