The Arkansas Razorbacks continued their free fall with the biggest loss of the season thus far, 52-0, at the Alabama Crimson Tide. Head coach Bret Bielema's Razorbacks have now been outscored 104-7 in the last two games.
It was an all-around abysmal outing for Arkansas. The defense gave up 532 yards of offense, including 352 on the ground, and the offense couldn't do anything. The ground game wasn't terrible, netting 165 yards. But, the same can't be said for quarterback Brandon Allen.
You can sum up his latest performance in one word: absolutely terrible. Okay, that's two words, but the absolutely had to be added because he was that bad.
The sophomore finished the game 7-for-25, passing for no touchdowns and two interceptions with a grand total of 91 yards.
His accuracy has been a huge problem. After Saturday's 28.0 completion percentage, the worst of his young career, Allen's percentage for the year is at a lowly 44.9 percent. He's simply not making good throws and it makes it worse that he doesn't have a very reliable receiving core aside from freshman tight end Hunter Henry.
So, what is it that has made Allen struggle so much just to complete a pass?
There's a number of things, but the main two are bad decision making and poor timing on his throws. Watching the tape on him, Allen has made many poor decisions that leave you scratching your head.
Take his first interception of the game against Alabama, for example. The Crimson Tide were lined up in a cover two, so the corners and linebackers were in man coverage while the safeties were in a zone. Allen was targeting Henry, who was manned up against the linebacker. He let Henry run past him a bit because the safeties in the zone offered help over the top.
Allen failed to recognize this and kept his eye on Henry the whole time. Both safeties saw it and closed in on Henry. The linebacker who was playing under him tipped the ball and the safety finished with the pick. Because Allen failed to recognize the coverage, he threw into triple coverage and gave the Alabama secondary an easy play to make.
Here, you can see the play, as well as some other highlights from the game:
Bo Mattingly of Sports Talk With Bo pointed out what ESPN's Todd Blackledge said: he's just not putting himself in good position when throwing:
Blackledge: Brandon Allen doesn't always get himself in position to throw the ball accurately all the time.— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) October 18, 2013
Coaches can drill various coverage schemes and fundamentals of the position into quarterbacks heads, but they can't make them translate that to the field.
That's ultimately up to the guy under center and Allen hasn't shown the mental capacity to pick up on defensive coverages and adjust accordingly. He's also had problems timing his throws.
It has happened multiple times in every game he's played in. He gets a pass in the first few games, as he is in his first season as the starter and needed time to get on the same page as his receivers. That should have taken no longer than three games, but Allen is still making bad passes that are nowhere near on target.
He's had countless passes that have been behind, over and too far in front of his receivers. In his defense, Allen has dealt with a shoulder injury he sustained against Southern Miss all season and it has kept him from practicing regularly.
However, even that is no excuse for how Allen is playing right now.
Going forward, he's going to have to show improvement because the last five games are going to show if he's going to be the guy for the next few seasons, or if 4-star commit Rafe Peavey's career will get an early start.
Fan unrest is growing with each game that Allen continues to underachieve. He has the potential to be a very good quarterback, but if he can't get his timing down and make better decisions he won't be the starter come 2014.
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