Familiar reads and tempo excites Storey

By: Clay Henry
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2018
Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey throws a pass during practice Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas quarterback Ty Storey throws a pass during practice Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Fayetteville.

— There were hints from Chad Morris throughout spring drills that the quarterbacks might go live in contact scrimmages. It never happened.

Looking back, Ty Storey said it really wasn’t a big deal either way. The man who worked with the first team for the bulk of the spring said there was still plenty of hits, just not tackling to the ground. Going forward in the fall, there will be lots of contact to look forward to because quarterbacks will be called on for keepers in the Morris offense.

There will be quarterback counters in called runs. There will also be the famous run-pass option series that is a huge part of the Morris offense. It’s something Storey looks forward to in the fall. There were glimpses of it in scrimmages, especially on the goal line and in short yardage situations. But quarterbacks were not tackled.

“There was talk about (live contact), but we never did that,” Storey said. “But really, it’s not much different than what we did. You think it would be different, but the only thing you could say didn’t happen was probably needing to slide on some plays.

“When you are in the pocket and ready to play there aren’t any thoughts about getting hit. It would happen so fast anyway, you’d just pop back up and keep playing.

“I’m excited about the RPO. Obviously, every now and then we are going to throw in a run. It won’t be every down, but to have that available to throw at a defense is a change up and another thing they have to prepare for.”

Storey loves the RPO and counter schemes in the offense.

“Some of it will be game to game schemes,” Storey said. “But it’s there. A hole is there and you dive into it.

“I ran quite a bit in high school. It was the same exact reads. There are flat throws if the defender takes you. It’s a little different in that we used to run bubble on the RPO and this is more outs.

“The tempo of this offense is exciting. The ability to do basically anything and make the defense take it away. And what the defense does take away, you do the opposite. It’s exciting because it’s so hard to defend.”

Offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, the quarterbacks coach, said Storey “outworked everyone” from the start of their arrival as a staff. It also helped that he was seeing some familiar offensive reads dating back to his days as a state championship quarterback at Charleston.

“Our offense probably fits Ty better than what they did last year,” Craddock said. “I think what he’d done in high school was similar to some of the things we do in our offense.

Storey said there are many similarities.

“Coach Greg Kendrick was my high school coach and he went to SMU to talk over some stuff and installed it (at Charleston),” Storey said. “It’s cool to see that we read it the exact same way. So he got it from Coach Morris’ clinic.

“That was a few years back and there has been some evolution to our offense here and it’s not stayed all the same, but there are quite a few similarities between what we are doing now and my high school offense.”

Did it speed up the process for Storey?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I was still learning. That’s three years removed from my high school offense. But it was cool to see Coach Craddock going over something and say this is how we are going to read it and it kinda click that it was exactly how we read it in high school.

“It was cool to see how that played out. Obviously, it’s still a work in progress and still learning the offense for me. It’s like any other offense. You have to put in the time to learn it.”

The installation of the offense was in phases.

“The first two days, we got a section of the offense,” Storey said. “Those were a lot of zone plays and running game. The passing game was pretty basic.

“Install two was another segment. It’s like any other installs with any offense. You just have to put in the time.

“You watch how other quarterbacks in their systems have run done things. We watched SMU tape. It’s a really fun offense to learn and a really fun offense to play in.”

What’s the life of an SEC quarterback like as far as work? There is an immense amount of tape study both in season and out of season.

“It can be really chaotic,” Storey said.

But there has been a calmness this spring after Storey and other football players met with mental performance coach Brian Cain. He works with pro and college athletes across the spectrum of sports to enhance performances.

“It’s been cool,” Storey said. “Coach Morris brought him in to help our mental preparations. He’s just like a football coach, but it’s the mental side.

“He taught us how to approach certain situations and how to think. It’s crazy how much he’s helped me.

“One of the most important things he’s taught us is how to keep a detailed, but clean schedule. It’s helped us understand exactly when to sleep, when to do exercise and how to work on that schedule. I can tell how much it has helped from when I didn’t have that approach.

“I fill in my schedule hour by hour, even the hours that are going to be filled with sleep. It’s helpful because you don’t have to think about what you are going to do. You just look at your personal schedule. It’s time to sleep, so I sleep. It’s time to work, so I go work. The schedule tells you.”

Interestingly, the time management has improved to the point that there is new time for a hobby. He’s tagged along with former UA quarterbacks Brandon and Austin Allen on the golf course.

“We’ve put a schedule together that gets all of our football workouts and lifting done in five hours for the summer,” Storey said. “So I’ve tried to pick up golf this summer. I’m not very good, but I’m working on it.

“I’ve had a little more time for things like golf and spending time with family.”

The golf is in the beginning stages. Storey heads to the golf course with fellow quarterbacks Jack Lindsey and Carson Proctor.

“We play in a scramble format,” Storey said. “Jack’s pretty dang good and I’m learning. Playing it as a scramble makes it a lot more fun for me.”

There was no golf growing up in Charleston.

“There is not a lot there,” he said. “It was hunting and fishing for me.

“I had both sets of grandparents close and they took me along (hunting and fishing). I grew up the normal small-town Arkansas boy, a lot of sports and whatever season was happening is what we did in the back yard.

“I had both grandpas pretty close. We did it all together.

“We had a stock pond with just catfish. We would go out in the garden and catch worms, then go down to his pasture for four or five hours just looking at a bobber waiting for a catfish to grab it.

“We’d cook it. We didn’t have to, but we did for fun.

“There was a lot of deer hunting. I love going dove hunting with my dad and his dad. I wouldn’t change the way I grew up for the world.”

Storey held the top spot at quarterback for most of the spring, but Morris did not name a starter. There might not be a starter picked until well into fall camp. Storey will battle Cole Kelley, Daulton Hyatt and others.

“You just have to keep competing and keep working,” Storey said. “The main thing is not to focus on what is going to happen as far as who will play. Instead, you focus on how much better you can become over the summer break.

“Going back to Brian Cain’s mental coaching, you do need to have something in your head about what you think will happen, that you will be the starter. You believe what is going to happen. And, you put in the work to make that happen.

“Everybody has got their sights set on being No. 1. They are all going to work to make that happen. That’s exactly what I’m going to do, keep working and try to become the best quarterback I can be.”

Storey thinks it’s finally his time.

“I do, absolutely,” he said. “I think that’s what I’ve been working for ever since I came here. I believe that if I keep working, it’s there for me to take.”

There hasn’t been much opportunity for playing time with the Allen brothers in front of Storey.

“I learned so much from them,” Storey said. “I wouldn’t have had it any other way. That was learning from two NFL quarterbacks. I saw what all they went through, all the ups and downs. I still look up to those guys and still talk to them on a daily basis.

“They’ve both been up here a lot. I’ve been around Austin for forever.

“Both were unbelievable quarterbacks. They had some bad luck with the shoulder injuries. They were great guys to learn from.”

Storey loves the relationships that are building between players and coaches.

“Coach Craddock is a great coach, but he’s also a great guy off the field,” Storey said. “I love his temperament. He will raise his voice and get into us if he has to. For the most part, he’s about teaching you.

“If something doesn’t go his way, he’ll pull you aside and ask what were you seeing there. He’ll talk you through it. You can tell he definitely played the position. He’ll say, ‘I see what you saw, but maybe you should do it this way.’ He’s been there, done that and knows what this offense should look like.”

Craddock has helped Storey speed up his throwing motion.

“I feel good,” Storey said. “I feel more comfortable than ever throwing the ball.

“In high school I never thought about my mechanics. We were just throwing. We just were scoring touchdowns and doing everything you do to play football games.

“Once I got up here, there was obviously some stuff to change. Coach (Jim) Chaney wanted me to change some things and then I started doing what he wanted. Then Coach (Dan) Enos asked me to go back to what I’d done. It was kind of back and forth.

“It was getting different ways from a coach. There are different ways.

“I was trying to make people happy. They were experienced coaches and knew what they were talking about, but maybe I took too much in and was over-thinking it at times.

“Now, I feel really good. There are always little things to keep working on, but the main goal is to keep getting better.”

The organization over the final week of spring covered the summer practices. Storey said the plan is in place to advance the timing ahead of what it’s been in the past.

“I don’t think there is any doubt we will be further ahead with what we are going to do,” he said. “It’s more time spent for the summer running the plays we’ll run in the fall. We will learn what we need to work on the most.

“We will keep improving off the spring. There are not going to be any setbacks.

“You saw some timing develop later in the spring with guys like La’Michael Pettway and De’Vion Warren. Really, all of our receivers were feeling more comfortable. It’s different routes, but we are getting them down.

“One of my best attributes is to continue to work hard and there will be nothing but positives.”


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.