First-year starting quarterback Brandon Allen began the season about as well as Razorback fans could have hoped. In two games against UL-Lafayette and Samford, Allen was 24-of-39 passing for 355 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney couldn’t have scripted things better. And with Allen passing well, the Razorback run game thrived, with each phase of the offense supporting the other.
In a Week Three win over Southern Miss, Allen injured his throwing shoulder. He missed a loss at Rutgers. And since returning to action three weeks ago, SEC defenses have made life tougher on the sophomore than those non-conference foes at the top of UA’s schedule. Against Texas A&M, Florida, and South Carolina, Allen has gone 38-of-89 for 476 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Against the Gamecocks last Saturday he completed just four-of-12 passes for 30 yards and a pick. Not good.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he gives us the best option, 100%, to move forward. I think Brandon Allen is going to be a good football player and we have to have patience…
Obviously Florida’s and South Carolina’s defenses made him look a certain way and we just have got to get up to (that) level. It’s not him. Our throwing game — one of our three offensive goals last week was to be better in our execution. Protections, reads, routes, delivery and catch, all those things factor into it.”
Chaney says Allen has got to learn not to dwell on bad plays. “I thought going into the (Carolina) game he was fine, but I thought after the one (interception) he three, he got a little shaky again. It’s part of the development, man. You have to learn that when you make a mistake, so what? You have to go clean slate at quarterback.”
Allen will have a clean slate on Saturday when the Hogs travel to Alabama. With Arkansas now on a four-game losing skid and Bama still undefeated atop the national polls, that slate isn’t likely to stay clean for long.