VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Boxing/MMA
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
Allen leads resurgent Arkansas attack

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - Bret Bielema left little doubt about the foreseeable future when he said returning starter Brandon Allen had pulled away from the rest of the Arkansas quarterbacks following a scrimmage last week.

Advertisement
The Arkansas coach had good reason for his declaration, both for Allen and the rest of the Razorbacks.

Despite an injury-plagued and disappointing season a year ago in his first as the starter, Allen has been at the forefront of a surge in optimism surrounding the passing game at Arkansas this spring.

Whether the newfound comfort level will translate to an improvement in the Southeastern Conference's worst aerial attack from a year ago won't be known until the fall.

Until then, the pressure is squarely on Allen's shoulders to show how far Arkansas has come since bottoming out in Bielema's first season - a 3-9 debacle that saw the Razorbacks go winless in the SEC for the first time since joining the league in 1992.

By all accounts, and based on a pair of open scrimmages, the early results this spring have shown that Allen no longer resembles a first-year starter struggling to pick up offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's offense.

This is the junior's team, for better or worse, and he wouldn't have it any other way leading into next week's spring game.

''I think last year at this time a lot of people weren't on the same page at all,'' Allen said. ''... Right now, (the offense) is pretty much honed. I think the older guys have done a good job of teaching it to the younger guys. We're definitely a lot better schemed right now.''

Arkansas spent last spring practicing in Bielema's system for the first time. The pace and setup of practice, along with the passing routes and play calls, were all vastly different than under former coaches Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith.

The results were nothing short of disastrous in the passing game, where the Razorbacks finished last in the SEC with an average of 148.5 yards passing.

Allen, in his first season as the starter, didn't fare much better while working his way through an early season shoulder injury for much of the year. The Fayetteville native and son of a former Arkansas assistant coach had the worst passer rating of any SEC starter, completing 128 of 258 passes (49.6 percent) while throwing 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The lack of success through the air was difficult for many in the state to watch, particularly after the school had become accustomed to fielding one of the top passing offenses in the country under Petrino.

The criticism, particularly of the injured Allen, was even more difficult to read and hear for the quarterback's family - including Arkansas backup quarterback Austin Allen, the younger brother of the starter.

''It's tough when you see Twitter and all that stuff and you see what people say about him,'' Allen said. ''But we both have tough skin; that's just how my parents raised us.''

With last season's struggles behind him, and his shoulder completely healed, Brandon Allen returned to the practice field this spring with the intention on proving - to his teammates and himself - that he was the unquestioned starter for the Razorbacks.

He's done just that so far, completing 26 of 35 passes (74.3 percent) for three touchdowns and one interception through two open scrimmages.

The latest performance was what caused Bielema to say Allen has ''separated himself'' from his younger brother and any other challengers, a vote of confidence Allen said showed Bielema ''has the trust in me to lead this offense and do good things for us.''

Bielema's confidence in Allen is also shared by Chaney, the former Tennessee offensive coordinator who has praised the progress of both the quarterback and the offense overall. Chaney said he's been able to call plays this spring without last year's learning curve, and Allen has played a large role in that.

All that's left is to carry forward this spring's progress into next season, something Chaney has little doubt is on deck for Allen and the rest of the offense.

''I don't think Brandon's scratched the surface yet on the type of player he can be, and I look forward to watching him become that,'' Chaney said.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Freeze ousted at Ole Miss
Lawrence: 2017 MWC Preview
Edwards: Best Bet - South Carolina
Lawrence: 2017 MAC Preview
Edwards: Pac-12 Schedule Breakdown
Edwards: Big 12 Schedule Breakdown
Marshall: ACC Atlantic Preview
Marshall: ACC Coastal Preview
Edwards: SEC Schedule Breakdown
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 2051
Joe Williams + 1909
Pat Hawkins + 1752
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 400
Joe Nelson + 385
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 60 %
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Kyle Hunter 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1239
Scott Rickenbach + 1082
Kyle Hunter + 1023
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2485
Kyle Hunter + 2166
NeiltheGreek + 2076
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 805
Scott Rickenbach + 657
Pat Hawkins + 595
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership