FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas fall camp is about halfway finished now. The Razorbacks’ first game is just two-and-a-half weeks away and a number of positions remain up for grabs.
Now with a second scrimmage out of the way – it concluded Saturday afternoon in front of fans – those jobs are becoming somewhat clearer. Tighter, anyway.
Let’s talk a look at three of the most important and where they stand only 18 days away from Florida A&M.
Ty Storey, sophomore
Storey took the first batch of first-team reps in Saturday’s scrimmage. The way Bielema ran the scrimmage, though, that doesn’t mean anything. Units were mixed and matched all over the place. That said, it does suggest Storey hasn’t been leapfrogged by his competition yet, though.
Storey held the ball a little too long – a usual concern – but delivered passes as crisp and clean as he has in open practice or game competition, save one or two, including a final one on his first series that should have been intercepted.
Now in his third year in the Arkansas program, Storey has been the back-up to Allen for more than a calendar year now. And despite the calls for the insertion of Kelly, Storey still hasn’t given up the job, either, despite it being open competition.
Cole Kelley, redshirt freshman
The first pass Kelley threw Saturday went for more than 30 yards. It brought the fans who came to watch to some audible cheering. It was also a throw to a wide-open receiver with zero pressure.
Still, it was a throw that has to be made and Kelley deserves credit for making it. He also has, still, clearly the strongest arm. Far more zip than Storey on the deep ball. And Kelley’s biggest bugaboo – a tendency to throw wildly into coverage – never reared its head.
Kelley had the better day Saturday, certainly.
Edge – Storey…tenuously
Dwayne Eugene, senior
A converted safety, Eugene has been a plugger since coming to Arkansas. He finally earned his stripes last year, getting regular duty in the second half of the season after Dre Greenlaw was lost for the year. In fact, he started a lot of those games.
But that was at inside. Now Eugene is back on the outside. He’s slimmed down to in order to play faster, too, in hopes of getting and keeping a starting role full-time. As of Saturday, he was a second-teamer. But it’s on a knife’s edge.
Karl Roesler, senior
The perpetual overachiever, Karl Roesler wasn’t supposed to get reps two years ago. He got them. He wasn’t supposed to last year and he got them, then, too. Even this year, Roesler was considered more of a back-up to the outside linebacker on the other side, Randy Ramsey, than a starter opposite him. Nope. As of Saturday Roesler was getting first-team duties over Eugene.
Edge – Roesler
Roesler has done more in game competition in his career than Eugene. Also, Eugene can play any of the four linebacker positions on the field, which is helpful to a team lacking depth, but means he’s more likely to be a plug-and-play back-up than a starter.
No. 2 Wide Receiver
Jordan Jones, redshirt freshman
Jones is the most athletic and potential-laden wide receiver on the roster. He was the player most often mentioned by the coaching staff last year as a redshirt who could contribute quickly. All those positives have remained for most of the fall, too.
Jones did let freshman cornerback Kamren Curl flat handle him on a route about halfway through the scrimmage, though. A deep ball on a post route saw Storey try to get it to Jones in one-on-one coverage. Curl outran Jones and got around him to get to the ball first. And that easily.
Jonathan Nance, sophomore
Saturday was a quiet day for the junior-college transfer. That isn’t really a bad thing. Nance has been stable and reliable in his first fall camp at Arkansas.
He can play slot or out wide, which is helpful for him being on the field in some capacity this season. He’s a lot like Deon Stewart (unlisted in this because he’s more likely to be a slot guy) in that regard.
La’Michael Pettway, sophomore
Pettway has the size SEC teams covet at wide receiver. But with a batch of receivers with similar skills, he has not yet established himself away from the pack. The potential remains, but Pettway must also stay off Bielema’s bad side to earn as many snaps as his size suggests he should get.
Edge – Jones
Nance might ultimately see more snaps as the season goes because of his ability to play anywhere among the recievers. Jones’ upside might just be too much keep him out of the fold.
The post Arkansas position battles: Quarterback, No. 2 wideout and linebacker becoming clearer appeared first on SEC Country.
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