Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.
Austin Allen has his No. 2 now
The most important player on a football team is the quarterback. Doesn’t matter which team. Any team, frankly.
The second-most important player?
The backup quarterback.
Arkansas finally, officially, has one now, too, as coach Bret Bielema named Cole Kelley the top reserve to starter Austin Allen on Wednesday. Bielema made the announcement at the NWA Touchdown Club luncheon. He also made it with a caveat.
The redshirt freshman is the backup this week. Next week, rather, next game week, it could be sophomore Ty Storey. The two were practically indistinguishable this fall. Not physically, that’s a given with the gun-slinging, 6-foot-8 Kelley towering over more the game manager (but large in his own right), 6-3 Storey. But Bielema and offensive coordinator Dan Enos stressed for the better part of 2017 that the two were neck and neck. Doesn’t appear much has changed now. At least not publicly acknowledged.
Someone had to be named. Kelley certainly is the more popular choice, his Brett Favre-esque style winning over fans each of the last few camps. Storey, on the other hand, had a short go of things last season and was less than impressive, though he looked far better this spring and preseason than he did during game duty last year.
So, the gig is Kelley’s. Someone had to be named. But along with the saying about “most important” player, there’s another about the most popular. Usually the backup quarterback.
If Arkansas starts slowly, when will those calls to see the “rook” be made?
The Henry boys look like Arkansas’ next great family
Hunter Henry we know. Everyone knows, unless you simply don’t watch college football.
The ex-Razorbacks tight end won the John Mackey Award for nation’s best at the position his final season at Arkansas in 2015. Last year, in the NFL, with the Chargers, Henry made the All-Rookie team.
Then there is the youngest brother, Hudson. He’s a tight end, too, down at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock. Like Hunter, he’s a 4-star recruit. Class of 2019, though.
In the middle — overlooked, like middle siblings can be — is Hayden.
Just don’t count on “overlooked” for long. The freshman linebacker is at Arkansas as a 2-star prospect. And he’s already outplaying teammates on scholarship at the position.
Know the name. He’s coming.
Henre’ Toliver/Ryan Pulley may be best CB duo in SEC
When Henre’ Toliver was a freshman who found his way into a starting job back in 2014, he looked like a future star in the Razorbacks secondary.
And, in a way, Toliver has lived up to expectations. He’s never lost the starting gig. He’s played good teammate and subordinate, switching to the nickel back position when asked. But he’s also never quite taken that next step to All-SEC defensive back like some predicted.
This season, though, he just might. With Ryan Pulley, the SEC’s leader in defensed passes, on one side and Toliver back away from the slot and on the other side, Arkansas might just have the best cornerback duo in the SEC. Definitely the most unheralded.
- A bit overlooked, but Bielema dropped his first speak-his-mind line of the season Wednesday at the Touchdown Club. Let’s just say it had to do with his new baby’s breastfeeding.
- Iteration No. 2 of SEC Country Arkansas’ “Sound Off” is live. Yours truly and Trent Shadid talk about the Arkansas offense, especially about Jared Cornelius and wideouts, just a week out from the opener.
- Speaking of wide receivers, Bielema talked about Deon Stewart as a kick returner on Wednesday. Jimmy Carter at WholeHogSports had a piece about it.
- The best non-sports columnist in Arkansas, John Brummett, has a great piece about Glen Campbell and Frank Broyles in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
- Four Arkansas players were named All-SEC by the conference’s coaches Wednesday. Three I voted for, personally, during SEC Media Days and offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt as well.
Tweets and the like
If you’re heading to the Catfish Hole on Thursday night, you’ll get some good eats and catch a pair of Arkansas players.
Santos Ramirez & Hjalte Froholdt will join Bret Bielema on his radio show 7 p.m. Thursday at the Catfish Hole restaurant.
— Bob Holt (@BobHoltADG) August 23, 2017
How is this possible? Bielema has to be stretching the truth here. If he isn’t, the Arkansas sports information department needs to turn this into a video: “Coach chews his first Big Red ever!”
Odd fact: Bret Bielema tells the NWA Touchdown Club that he's "never chewed gum in my life."
— Andrew Hutchinson (@NWAHutch) August 23, 2017
Here’s Bielema’s remark. It’s, um, it’s a breastfeeding remark, so a bit off-color. Just an FYI.
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) August 23, 2017
Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.
The post Will Arkansas fans be calling for Cole Kelley if Hogs struggle out of the gate? appeared first on SEC Country.