Arkansas Razorbacks Need to Stick with Brandon Allen

Brandon Allen

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas played about as poorly as a team could in their 52-7 home loss at the hands of South Carolina, but now is not the time to give up hope on the Razorbacks and Bret Bielema.

It’s no secret that Bielema has his work cut out for him in Fayetteville and when you’re trying to get back to the top of the mountain, you’re bound to get cut, scraped and bruised. That’s inevitable and exactly what happened today and over the last month.

Brandon Allen has looked severely overmatched since coming back from his shoulder injury and the once-potent ground game has come to a screeching halt, but these are the growing pains you must overcome if you want to become successful. Quarterbacks in their first year as a starter are going to struggle against elite SEC defenses.

Talk of benching Allen after his disastrous performance on Saturday is going to permeate throughout the internet and on sport talk radio in the state as he completed just four of his 12 attempts for 30 yards, of which three were to backs.

I can picture Arkansas radio host Bo Mattingly getting a number of phone calls on Monday afternoon about Arkansas messing up and letting Brandon Mitchell transfer, and about A.J. Derby starting over Allen, but that is just an angry reaction to a disappointing game and not a reality.

That is a fair response to such an ugly game, but also a short-sighted one that Bielema shouldn’t consider. Allen has struggled with pick-sixes, which hurts his confidence and is growing as a leader, but to abandon it seven games into his first season as a starter would be the wrong move.

A lot can be learned through personal struggles and in defeat, and how Allen responds to these challenges will define his career with the Hogs. Next week won’t be any easier as they travel to No. 1 Alabama, but three of the final four games look winnable.

If Allen rebounds at the close of the season and gain bowl eligibility, he and the rest of this young team will benefit greatly from an extra month of practice. That will accelerate the rebuilding job of Bielema. Allen gives this team the best chance to win this season and sets the foundation for the future. Abandoning that plan will only delay the Razorbacks from getting back to national prominence.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and add him to your Google network.

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