Ty Storey named Razorbacks' starting QB

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Ty Storey, Arkansas quarterback, in the second quarter vs Eastern Illinois Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Photo by Ben Goff
Ty Storey, Arkansas quarterback, in the second quarter vs Eastern Illinois Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- With the Arkansas Razorbacks in the midst of a self-described storm, Coach Chad Morris wanted to start the opening week of conference play with clarity at what has been an unstable quarterback position.

"Ty Storey will start for us as we take this thing forward," Morris announced at his Monday news conference.

Storey, a redshirt junior, was the only one of the top four quarterbacks for the University of Arkansas who did not play in last week's 44-17 loss to North Texas.

Morris said he's trying to put the game in the hands of one quarterback, as he attempted with sophomore Cole Kelley last week.

"I think the message is that we want to settle on someone," Morris said. "We came into the game last week with the intent to settle with Cole being there, and that's why we went with him in the second half. I wanted to see if we could work through some things."

Morris said he wanted to give Storey a fresh start and not put him in with a big deficit after falling behind 37-10 early in the third quarter. Freshmen Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones followed Kelley at quarterback in the loss to North Texas and added one interception apiece to bring the Razorbacks' total to six.

North Texas converted the takeaways into 24 points.

"We couldn't overcome the turnovers," Morris said. "And I was disappointed in our inconsistency offensively, and not being able to run the football."

Morris likened Arkansas' situation with a 1-2 record heading into the meat of the SEC schedule as being in a tempest. Asked what his message was to the prospects Arkansas is recruiting, Morris said it was the same one he was giving to his team.

"Hey look, we're in a storm," he said. "When you face adversity and face a storm in your life, the one thing you do know for certain is it'll eventually pass. I don't know when, but it will pass if you believe it.

"Same way with recruits. Talking with these recruits and having them on campus it's, 'Hey look ... you're going to go through storms in your life. You better understand that every day we wake up, we're in the process of getting better.' "

Storey has played what amounts to one full game this season by running the offense in the middle two quarters of the 55-20 season-opening victory against Eastern Illinois and the first half of a 34-27 loss at Colorado State. Storey is 17 of 30 (57 percent) for 297 yards, with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

All the touchdowns came against Eastern Illinois and both interceptions came at Colorado State. Arkansas has outscored opponents 51-22 with Storey in the games -- 38-13 vs. Eastern Illinois and 13-9 at Colorado State.

"I'm very excited for Ty to get an opportunity," offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said. "Obviously, we're going on the road in a hostile environment. He's going to have to be ready. It'll take a good week of practice.

"The good thing is it's Monday and we have time to get the game plan in and have him ready to go. I think he will be. He's very excited. I think he's going to do good."

Morris said he hopes simplifying the offense and giving Storey the reins on Sunday of game week will help the Razorbacks be more consistent in their base offense.

"We've been talking about the quarterback since April, and believe me, I want to settle on one," Morris said. "That's what I want to do and that's the direction we're trying to get to, but there's been the inconsistencies through that, as well. Right, wrong and indifferent, it's not all on the quarterbacks, but that comes with that position."

Storey has played at Auburn before. He completed 1 of 3 passes for 3 yards in a 56-3 loss at Auburn in 2016, which marked the first significant reps of his career.

Morris' decision to stay with Kelley to open the third quarter with Arkansas trailing 37-10 last week drew the ire of fans, who booed the move. Kelley completed passes of 11 yards to T.J. Hammonds and 13 yards to Jared Cornelius as Arkansas reached the North Texas 46. But his first-down flea-flicker pass drew immediate pressure, and he threw his fourth interception of the game into traffic deep down the field for La'Michael Pettway.

"First of all, Cole was disappointed in the fact of the outcome of last week and the way things went," Morris said when asked about Kelley's reaction to going back to No. 2 on the depth chart. "He was on the sidelines and very encouraging to the freshmen that went in."

Kelley and Storey have rotated starts in each of the first three weeks. Morris and Craddock said Kelley clearly had the better week of practice last week.

Craddock said the practice reps at quarterback this week will be doled out in a set fashion.

"The way we break up our reps, Ty will get all the one reps this week," Craddock said. "Cole will get some two reps. We will continue to bring on Connor and John Stephen ... as much as we can."

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