Former Arkansas starting quarterback Tyler Wilson is has moved on to the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, and with him went his 7,765 career passing yards and 52 career touchdowns.
Redshirt sophomore Brandon Allen has been pegged as the heir-apparent, but he won’t be expected to shoulder as heavy a load as Wilson under Bret Bielema’s more balanced offensive attack.
“We are going to ask him (Allen) to do what I ask every quarterback to do,” Bielema said. “We are going to ask him to manage the game effectively. I want us to be able to be in the right position before the snap. If we have a situation that requires us to change the play, I expect him to be able to do it.”
That isn’t to say the Bielema will abandon the passing game entirely with a wide receiver group boasting playing experience.
“One of the things that gets left in the discussion is that we were also tremendously talented throwing the football (at Wisconsin),” Bielema said. “Last year might have been a little bit off, but the three years prior to that we were one of the most efficient teams in balance between running and throwing the football.”
Mitchell will go through growing pains, but he has already shown improvement since getting placed at the top of the depth chart.
“He (Allen) is much more confident than he was last year,” senior center Travis Swanson said. “I have been able to snap to great quarterbacks. He is starting to get those attributes that you want and I have seen in those guys before.”
His continued growth has inspired confidence in his teammates.
“Brandon Allen has grown up a lot,” senior fullback Kiero Small said. “I think that is big, when you have a guy that is potentially going to be the starter on game one, for him to grow up every day.”
Allen’s growth will be key to keeping the new offense rolling and keeping the Razorbacks from taking a step back this season.
“We aren’t looking to be good three years from now. We want to be good this year,” Swanson said. “I think we are going to shock a lot of people.”
The Razorbacks start the season at 3 p.m. on Aug. 31 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
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