Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for the Hawgs Sports Network. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas and previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He was the 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Hicks: 'I feel like I’ve done my job' in QB race
Arkansas quarterback Ben Hicks looks to pass Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, during practice at the university practice field in Fayetteville. Visit nwad.com/photos to see more photographs from the practice.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Chad Morris has laid out clearly the criteria for what he wants in his starting quarterback this fall: consistency.
Ben Hicks, a two-year starter at SMU under Morris who in January committed to the Razorbacks as a graduate transfer, believes he has put his best foot forward through 16 preseason practices in regards to the quarterback competition between he and Texas A&M grad transfer Nick Starkel.
"We’ve all done some good things," Hicks said. "I feel like I’ve done my job and that’s what I’m trying to do every day at camp. I just do my job and take it one day at a time and see what happens when they make that decision.
"I think, again, (coaches) are just trying to go by practice every single day, and when that decision’s made, the decision’s made and we’ll live with it and go on and try and make the best of the situation. We’ll take it one day at a time and when they make that decision that will be the decision that they make."
Hicks, who threw touchdown passes to tight end Chase Harrell and receiver Jordan Jones in Arkansas' first scrimmage and was intercepted by Montaric Brown in scrimmage No. 2 on Saturday, said he feels the quarterback race is tight 11 days from the season opener against Portland State.
Wednesday's workout will be the Razorbacks' final full-fledged scrimmage of training camp. Starkel took every first-team rep on Tuesday, but Morris added that Hicks will likely begin Wednesday with the first unit before rotating in Starkel, John Stephen Jones and freshman K.J. Jefferson.
"I think (the scrimmage is) as big as any of them," Hicks said. "One day at a time, get ready to practice and get the guys in the end zone. That’s the main thing we’re looking for - a guy that’s going to get us in the end zone and help us win games."
Hicks added that he would rather be in a quarterback battle in preseason practices than undoubtedly be the guy entering the season.
"I think anytime you’ve got competition it makes you better and pushes you, so it’s been good having everyone in that room pushing me every single day, and I think its been good for them," he said. "We’re all in here pushing each other every day, so I think it’s been good for everybody and healthy for everybody. I think we’ve all gotten better in the fall."
Camp has been a grind, Hicks said, but he has had fun with the process. He's taken a great deal away from film study and extra reps thanks to the coaches' decision to implement a split-field approach, which places 1s and 3s on either field and 2s and 4s on the other.
For him, this competition is no different than any other he's been in.
"It feels the same," Hicks said. "I've had to earn every spot I've ever gotten in college. I've just tried to approach it as a process, take it one day at a time and just do my job."
Asked about personal strengths and what would make him right for the starting job, Hicks went directly to system knowledge and the ability to put the ball in the hands of his playmakers quickly.
"Giving it to the guys in space is something I take pride in," he added. "I've got a lot to continue to work on, but I think my knowledge of the offense is as good as it's been.
"I'm trying to keep that up throughout the rest of camp and into the fall."
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