Brandon Allen may not be the starting quarterback when the Razorbacks take the field for the first time with Bret Bielema as head coach. There is some expectation that Brandon Mitchell will be given the honor due to his athletic ability, and Mitchell's ability to run would be an asset to the kind of offense that Bielema is expected to bring to Fayetteville in the fall.
But there is always the possibility that Allen will be given the job as he may be the kind of “drop-back and pass” quarterback that new offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Jim Chaney will utilize.
If Allen is given the starting job, be it this year or the next, he will be in a better position to be successful than he was under the last regime led by John L. Smith.
Allen’s two primary performances for the Razorbacks during the 2012 season were during the losses to Louisiana-Monroe and Alabama, when Allen had to replace an injured Tyler Wilson.
In both instances, Allen was expected to pass the ball with little relief from any kind of running game. Arkansas was still calling pass plays even after running back Knile Davis had warmed up in the fourth quarter and made a 19-yard play—Allen proceeded to throw an interception that ended the Hogs’ chance to win the game during regulation.
Arkansas only had 58 rushing yards against Alabama.
The main components that a young quarterback like Allen needs, to improve his skills and make the most of his abilities, are time to throw the ball and an effective run game to fall back on if, in the case of the Alabama game, he gets into trouble.
Arkansas’ hiring of Bielema is one of the best things that could have happened for Allen’s development as a player—Bielema is known for building teams with strong offensive lines and effective running games.
Allen may not be the starter this year. He may not be a superstar ever. But he will be in a good position to thrive as a player with Bret Bielema as the head coach at Arkansas.