Razorbacks name backup quarterback

Kelley edges ahead of Storey at No. 2 QB

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema speaks during the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by David Gottschalk
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema speaks during the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Redshirt freshman Cole Kelley slipped ahead of redshirt sophomore Ty Storey during the late stages of camp to earn the No. 2 quarterback designation for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Coach Bret Bielema said Wednesday.

Bielema, speaking at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club's first meeting of the year, noted how close the competition was behind fifth-year senior Austin Allen.

"On Tuesday, I sat both Ty and Cole down and told Cole that if a game was tomorrow, he'd be the first guy in there," Bielema said.

"When I list them on the depth chart Friday, they'll be slashed," he said, referencing a co-listing for the No. 2 job.

Bret Bielema addresses the media at the NWA Touchdown Club

(By Blake Sutton )
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Bielema also had news on a pair of receivers. He said senior receiver Jared Cornelius hasn't been cleared to practice as he recovers from tightness in his back, and sophomore receiver T.J. Hammonds was involved in practice Tuesday in his recovery from minor knee surgery.

"Just knowing J-Red, he's not going to need a lot of time," Bielema said. "He's catching balls, he's just [not] engaged in actually physically going through the regimens of playing."

Bielema said if Cornelius isn't ready for next Thursday's opener against Florida A&M in Little Rock, then he might be cleared for Week 2 against TCU in the on-campus opener. If he's not ready by then, the Razorbacks have an open date before playing Texas A&M on Sept. 23.

"We'll get him when he's ready," Bielema said.

Hammonds has recovered swiftly from arthroscopic knee surgery after he was given roughly a four-week recovery window after his injury Aug. 2.

"He went yesterday and performed very well, so today we've got a 19-period practice and we've got him scripted through the first 12, and then we'll take a break and make sure nothing goes wrong," Bielema said.

He said he saw Hammonds on Wednesday morning and that he appeared to suffer no adverse effects from Tuesday's work.

Bielema added that true freshman Jarrod Barnes has come on strong at receiver in recent days and has a chance to play at wide receiver this season, along with fellow freshmen Koilan Jackson and De'Vion Warren.

Bielema told the crowd that sophomores La'Michael Pettway and Deon Stewart and freshman Jordan Jones have all had good camps and will have a chance to contribute early, along with junior college transfers Jonathan Nance and Brandon Martin, the sophomore Hammonds and the freshmen.

Bielema and offensive coordinator Dan Enos have talked up the improvements in both Kelley and Storey throughout camp.

"I think it's better than any situation I've ever had," Bielema said. "You actually have two guys who are in that spot and have performed very, very well."

Bielema said the coaches went light on Allen's reps for the final seven days of camp to give Storey and Kelley more time to work with the starters and to deal with stressful situations created by the coaches.

"It was just to try to get those guys into those situations, and they handled it very well," Bielema said. "We pulled Austin out of the ones and those guys got to rep with those ones, and I think that's when Cole really flourished."

Senior center Frank Ragnow, an offensive captain for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, said he's noticed that Kelley is more comfortable in the huddle and at the line now.

"He's a guy that isn't shy," Ragnow said. "He's very outgoing, and I think that helps him a lot. He's confident out there, and you've seen that on the field. He's definitely got the ability to make the big-time throws and everything like that.

"I think with both him and Ty it's just the confidence and the comfortability. You can tell with Austin he's been playing for a while, and he understands everything. Once those two get that down, they're both going to be special players, I think."

Bielema said Storey was ahead of Kelley for the first segment of camp, and had a better day than Kelley on Tuesday.

"The best thing they've got going is competition amongst themselves," Bielema said. "So Cole may be the guy this week and Ty could be the guy next week and to be quite honest, depending on game situations, it might determine who goes into the game overall."

Bielema said Kelley showed "better game management" during the extended work with the starters and "did some nice things in situational football."

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