Sophomore Brandon Allen is a quarterback. Senior Brandon Mitchell is a quarterback who was turned into a wideout who then turned himself into a basketball player and who’s now been turned back into a quarterback.
Armed with that information, most Arkansas fans knew that the younger of the two Brandons had the inside track to the Razorbacks’ starting job entering spring. According to his coach, it sounds like Allen is doing everything necessary to nail down that gig (though a starter probably won’t be named until fall).
Over the weekend, Bret Bielema once again praised Allen for his performance in the Hogs’ latest scrimmage:
“I thought our offense today at times in the early parts looked really, really good. Brandon Allen especially. Looked crisp on some of his throws, stepping up in the pocket and doing things we’ve asked him to do.”
According to HawgSports.com — the Rivals.com site covering Arkansas — Allen completed four of six deep passes on Saturday with receivers taking the blame for the two incompletions.
Last season, Allen played in just five games for the Razorbacks connecting on 21-of-49 passes for 186 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. That’s hardly a long resume. And the change from the Arkansas’ old pass-first system to Bielema’s run-first offense could mitigate some of the experience Allen did gain during his freshman year.
That said, for those who don’t remember, Allen was ranked as the #5 pro-style quarterback in the country coming out of high school. He has talent to be sure, but it’s likely to be pretty raw early in the season.
Last week we noted that it will be interesting to see if Bielema and new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney — a pass-first guy — mesh in Fayetteville. But one definite benefit of Chaney’s hire is his ability to polish signal-callers. In two stints as a college offensive coordinator Chaney has put two QBs in the NFL (Drew Brees and Kyle Orton from Purdue) and another will join them later this month (Tyler Bray from Tennessee). That bodes well for Allen and Arkansas.
The fact that most folks around the Arkansas program feel that Allen continues is opening a gap between himself and Mitchell suggests that the sophomore is already taking to Chaney’s tutelage. It also suggests that he’ll indeed be the Razorbacks’ starter this fall… just as everyone expected.