Either Bret Bielema truly doesn’t know if Austin Allen will be ready Saturday or he is trying to act like Alabama would care.
Regardless of what Nick Saban says publicly it doesn’t matter to him or his defense one bit.
It might for Arkansas.
Out of nowhere Wednesday Bielema threw out Ty Storey’s name. Bielema had popped into the press conference with defensive players and coaches because the SEC teleconference was cancelled due to technical difficulties.
To be honest, it’s a safe bet everyone had all but forgotten about Storey with all the hoopla surrounding Cole Kelley.
“He probably runs the offense closest to Austin,” he said.
That’s another clue if you’re looking for hidden nuggets in what coaches say. He mentioned it again on his radio coaches show Thursday night.
It wouldn’t be surprising now to see Storey take most of the snaps and Kelley continue with the Steamboat Package, which is primarily in short-yardage situations.
Playing Kelley against Alabama wouldn’t help. He’s not agile enough to dodge the Crimson Tide defenders who are probably already smelling blood in the water after a week in practice that likely hasn’t been a romp in the park.
The Hogs can thank Texas A&M for that. The Aggies took advantage of Alabama not being as focused in the second half and managed to make it look like a one-score game with a score very late.
It wasn’t that close and the only people telling you that are trying to make it sound like the Razorbacks have a legitimate shot in the game Saturday.
The only shot the Hogs really have is if the Tide misses the team bus to the game. Then they’ll have — at most — a half because they would make it there by then.
It’s been a long time since an Arkansas team went into a game this seriously out-manned. Maybe some of the Florida games in the 1990’s or that Tennessee game against Peyton Manning.
This one is a mismatch and the drama surrounding whether Allen plays or not is just how one-sided this game is.
Kelley likely isn’t the long-term answer for the Hogs. Quarterbacks his size don’t have a lot of success. It’s been tried and has never worked … not once.
Of course, with Bielema pleading for more physicality from this team “position-by-position,” he said Thursday night that might be one way to get it. Kelley doesn’t appear to shy away from contact.
Which actually plays into Alabama’s hands. The few teams that have beaten the Tide the last few years haven’t done it physically.
To beat Alabama over the last few years, you have to have a mobile quarterback. As one longtime SEC assistant said, “if you play Alabama with a dropback passing game you’re playing 10 against 11 and you’re going to get beat every time.”
Which, of course, is probably why the Hogs are 10-24 in SEC play the last five seasons. As the college football world has evolved over the last five seasons, Arkansas is stuck about a decade behind things.
Texas A&M made things interesting against Alabama last week because Kellen Mond has turned into a very capable scrambler. Maybe not the reincarnation of Johnny Manzel, but he gave the Tide’s defense fits the other night.
Arkansas doesn’t have anyone like that.
Which is why Alabama doesn’t really care who plays quarterback for the Hogs.