Arkansas nearing decision on backup quarterback role

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Saturday, August 12, 2017
Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley warms up prior to practice Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Jason Ivester
Arkansas quarterback Cole Kelley warms up prior to practice Saturday, April 29, 2017, in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas' staff doesn’t know who its backup quarterback will be this season yet, but the decision between redshirt sophomore Ty Storey and redshirt freshman Cole Kelley will come in the next week.

Razorback head coach Bret Bielema said Saturday after his team scrimmaged that he wanted to have that choice made two weeks before the Thursday, Aug. 31st season opener with Florida A&M in Little Rock.

“We took a day this week each - Tuesday and Wednesday - where they took them (all the two snaps),” Bielema said. “We will have a big personnel meeting tomorrow at 1:30. We will grade the film today, watch the film tonight and tomorrow the staffs will watch it and I will ask them to prioritize and then we will go into a big meeting and talk about it.

“I am not so concerned over next week yet through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But to go two weeks out of from the game, I think we should have an idea of who that guy is in the packing order.”

Kelley seemed to have the better day during the second half of Saturday’s scrimmage as he connected on 4 of 6 passes for 48 yards.

“I thought Cole Kelley in particular threw the ball extremely well,” Bielema said. “He created some plays, extended some plays when some things broke down around him.

“I thought Ty Storey through the course of the week was a little bit more productive and still did some good things today. Those guys continue to battle it out. We've got a great decision on our hands in there. I feel really good where we are at.”

Storey, who was starter Austin Allen’s backup last season, was 2 of 4 passing for 22 yards with an interception.

“I would say if you were just sitting there as an interested observer and knew football a little bit, you would say that Ty probably performed a little bit better on Tuesday than Cole did on Wednesday, but that might be flipping today the way Cole was able to make some plays.

“The good news is they are both good players, they are both competing and no one is succumbing to the other any time soon.”

Allen worked the first half of the scrimmage, which was closed.

“Austin again was really, really productive,” Bielema said. “Very, very accurate. Very in control. We actually pulled him out at half. We actually let (senior center) Frank (Ragnow) go, just because we wanted to get those other quarterbacks a chance to work with him a little bit through those first two series, and then we pulled him out.”

The fan day crowd also got a look at second-year walk on signal callers Jack Lindsey - who was 4 of 6 for 45 yards with a scoring throw to tight end Will Gragg - and Carson Proctor, who had a big pass play to wideout Jordan Jones in last Saturday’s scrimmage.

“When Cole and Ty are working with the ones I want to see who can be that fourth guy really battling it out,” Bielema said. “Carson Proctor and Jack Lindsey, two very talented non-scholarship players that I don’t think anybody even really knows that.

“The guys on the team really see them as guy who goes out there and compete. I think Jack, there is something about that gene. Obviously (former Razorback All-American running back) Mr. (Jim) Lindsey had something special and I know (Jack’s dad) Lyndy and what he has been able to accomplish in life and Jack has just got that something to him. He is very productive and smart, intelligent and engaged and doesn't make a lot of mistakes.

“Carson Proctor comes out of Florida and is just another productive kid, good kid out of a great family and makes a lot of great decisions. He threw that ball to Jordan Jones last week on the boundary over there. He has a nice touch on the deep ball.

“Carson turned down some 8 to 10 offers from some non-power 5s to walk on and chase his dream. Lenny Jankowski is a good friend of mine down there in South Florida and recommended him and I am glad to have him in a program.”

Lindsey had a touchdown pass against a defense that featured nine of the 11 members of the first team.

“I yelled at our defense,” Bielema said. “I had a lot of ones on our sideline and it was kind of our makeshift twos out there, but yes, Jack did a lot of good things, didn’t turn the ball over and made wise decisions and made a couple of big plays in the throw game.”

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