College Football championship teams are built in the spring. This is the time of season when the position battles are won and lost. The players give it their all in an attempt to unseat the starter and make the coaching staff take notice.
This happens with every team in the country, and the Arkansas Razorbacks are no exception.
Tyler Wilson is the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks, but his backup is still a question as the Razorbacks get ready for the season with plenty of spring scrimmages.
Brandon Mitchell has held the backup spot, but his decision to play basketball has hurt his standing. Brandon Allen is a local boy and is working hard to secure the second spot on the depth chart.
Head coach Bobby Petrino holds fast-paced practices that allow all of the signal-callers to get an equal amount of reps. Allen has impressed the coaching staff and it looks as though the second spot in the quarterback rotation is his to lose.
The Hogs have one of the deepest and most talented groups up front on defense that they have had in a long time.
Jake Bequette is off to the NFL, leaving a big hole up front, but there are plenty of young studs ready to pick up the slack. The biggest positional battle is the one between Chris Smith and Austin Flynn.
Smith currently holds the top spot and received plenty of snaps a season ago while filling in for the oft-injured Bequette. Smith led all defensive ends in sacks a season ago and has spent the early spring as a constant fixture in the backfield harassing the quarterback.
Flynn has been labeled by Petrino as one of the more popular players on the team, although he is a transfer. Flynn will most likely be second on the depth chart when the season begins, but the defensive staff is working on ways to get Flynn on the field.
Senior Grant Freeman has left a gaping hole on the offensive line and several players are vying to become the next fixture on a talented front. With the news of the arrest of starting left tackle Jason Peacock, the coaching staff will have to move players around until they find the right combination.
Brey Cook is slated as the starter and will be challenged by redshirt sophomore transfer Chris Stringer. Cook is a 5-star prospect and missed some time last year with an illness. Stringer is very talented and will get his share of looks from offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.
With the uncertainty on the offensive line, both players have a shot to impress in the spring, with Cook the most likely candidate to be the starter. Tackle is not the only spot that is up for grabs on the offensive line.
Last year, Mitch Smothers impressed the coaching staff to the point where he started as a true freshman. That did not last long, as Jason Peacock moved in and took over the starting spot. With Peacock suspended indefinitely, that opens up the competition for the guard spot, and Tyler Deacon wants a shot.
Deacon was a backup center a year ago, but he's making some noise early in the spring. Deacon is putting in extra effort in the weight room and the coaches are noticing. Deacon along with Smothers and Luke Charpentier are working at both guard and at the center position this spring.
Luckily for the Hogs, they have plenty of talent to go around.
The Razorbacks have a bevy of talented running backs, and both Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis can carry the load. It may be unfair to call this a position battle, as Davis will hold the top spot, but while recovering from an ankle injury that cost Davis all of last season, Johnson is making a case for more carries.
Davis has been held out of contact drills, and Johnson is not skipping a beat.
In the first scrimmage of the spring, Johnson led all rushers with 80 yards and three scores and looked as though he was in midseason form.
This kind of depth is one of the reasons the Razorbacks will be a competitive team in 2012.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist and can be followed on Twitter here. Feel free to contact James at email@example.com.