Tyler Wilson is gone. After two years as the starting quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks where he broke the school’s passing record and led the team through the ups of the 2011 season and the downs of this past year.
With Wilson gone, the Razorbacks are facing a dilemma they have not had in a number of years. Wilson stepped in almost seamlessly and replaced Ryan Mallett.
Here are the current quarterbacks on the Razorbacks’ roster that can hopefully do the same.
Brian Buehner has spent the past two years on special teams holding the ball for kicker Zach Hocker.
Buehner was a high school state champion in the state of Kentucky in 2009 where he passed for over 1,000 yards. He may be another quarterback that could be called upon this season to step in should the starter go down during the year.
But he doesn’t have any game experience at the quarterback position at the college level.
Hopefully Bret Bielema and his new staff will be the kind of coaches that can develop the bench as well as the starters, a trait that Arkansas was lacking during the 2012 season under coach John L. Smith.
Brandon Allen was thrown to the elephants during the 2012 season.
He was brought in during the second half of the Louisiana-Monroe game during Week 2 when Tyler Wilson sustained his injury. He followed up that loss with a disappointing first start against Alabama the following week in which the Razorbacks failed to score a single point.
Allen was rated one of the best high school quarterbacks in the country during his senior year at Fayetteville High School. He is the kind of quarterback that former head coach Bobby Petrino loved to recruit. Allen stays in the pocket and throws the football, like Wilson.
But Bielema has not traditionally run his offenses that way, and after this season the program and its fans are looking to move forward in a different direction.
Allen has the experience of the Alabama game, which can only help him in his development process. But if his skill set doesn’t match what Bielema wants to bring to the Razorbacks’ offense, he will find himself lower in the depth chart than in 2012.
Taylor Reed is a transfer from the University of Memphis. During the 2011 season he started nine games for Tigers. He passed for over 1,600 yards and only threw four interceptions.
His best performance of the season was during a game against Middle Tennessee, where he posted a 78.1 completion percentage and rushed for 19 yards with a touchdown.
Reed’s program didn’t have a winning record that season, posting a 2-10 record. But Reed also had issues with his offensive line that season similar to Tyler Wilson’s during 2012. Reed’s line allowed him to be sacked 20 times.
Memphis also ran a run-first offense similar to what is expected from Bielema’s team in 2013.
Since Reed already has some college experience with such an offense and has demonstrated toughness similar to Wilson’s in absence of a well-coached line, he may get a chance to show what he can do on the field during the 2013 season.
Brandon Mitchell was moved to wide receiver during the 2012 season by John L. Smith and his staff.
This is a curious decision given that Mitchell had a 68.8 completion percentage during his 2011 appearances and was recruited by Bobby Petrino to play quarterback.
What makes this an even more curious decision is that Mitchell was brought in during the Alabama game as opposed to the other quarterbacks on the roster. If a player is going to be moved from a position and not take as many reps, why move him back in game against a team like Alabama?
But Mitchell may have a chance to shine under Bielema. His performances during the 2011 season warrant him a second look and his ability to run would be an asset in a run-first offense with a well-coached offensive line that can provide him with the space to move.
Bielema is looking to make changes in Arkansas. Moving Mitchell up in the depth chart would not be a bad place to start.