Quarterback Decision Crucial for Arkansas Razorbacks

By Tim Letcher

The Arkansas Razorbacks will be forced to replace several offensive weapons in 2013. Most notably, new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema must find a replacement for record-setting quarterback Tyler Wilson.

Brandon Mitchell, who moved to wide receiver last season just to be able to get on the field, has returned to the quarterback position this spring. Mitchell is a senior who has also seen time on special teams during his career.

As a freshman in 2010, Mitchell completed just one pass for 16 yards. As a sophomore the following season, he played in nine games, connecting on 22-of-32 through the air for 271 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also threw one interception. On the ground, Mitchell rushed 15 times for 58 yards and two scores.

As a wide receiver in 2012, Mitchell caught 17 passes for 272 yards and he rushed six times for 18 yards. He did try eight passes, completing two of them for 45 yards and a touchdown.

Brandon Allen is the other quarterback vying to be the starter in 2013. As a red-shirt freshman last season, Allen played in five games including one start. He connected on 21-of-49 passing for 186 yards and one touchdown. His only start was against the Alabama Crimson Tide and he was able to complete a career-high 10 passes, but only for 60 yards.

Mitchell brings more experience to the field and he also possesses the athletic ability to tuck the ball and run — which could make him more of a threat to opposing defenses. Allen, on the other hand, is more in the mold of Wilson — a pocket passer who doesn’t have the mobility of a player like Mitchell.

The winner of this quarterback battle will face more than just being the replacement for Wilson. The new signal caller will not have tight end Chris Gragg, wide receiver Cobi Hamilton or running backs Dennis Johnson or Knile Davis.

Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney have indicated they would like to pick a winner and go with that player as their quarterback, rather than a quarterback by committee scenario. Picking the right player will be key for the Razorbacks as they face another challenging schedule in the Southeastern Conference.

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