FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas center Zach Rogers is happy to be firmly entrenched as the Hogs’ starting center. But he wasn’t initially excited about how he took over the position.
Rogers, a junior, became the starter once senior Frank Ragnow was lost for the season with a high ankle sprain. Ragnow, arguably the best player on the team, sustained the injury in a loss to Auburn three weeks ago. He’s since had surgery, ending his Arkansas career.
Rogers viewed Ragnow as a mentor, following his lead and learning as his backup. They’d become close friends who respected one another. The idea was for Rogers to eventually take over as the starting center in 2018.
The passing of the torch at the position just happened a little earlier than expected. Rogers has started the past two games, both Arkansas victories. According to Ragnow, his replacement has done an outstanding job.
“Zach is just as smart or smarter than me,” Ragnow said Thursday night on coach Bret Bielema’s weekly radio show.
“He’s a very intelligent football player and he always has been. He’s always prepared like he’s the starter. We’ve kind of always had the same practice schedule and routine, and he’s kind of shadowed me with that. He’s been great.”