Competition is what Chad Morris is looking for and if you’ve been paying attention he’s not making any secret about it.
That includes every position, but especially at quarterback.
Some have appeared dismayed that Morris is recruiting so many quarterbacks. He has said repeatedly the new standard at Arkansas is being the best and you don’t do that with just one starter in college football these days.
The Razorbacks have scholarship quarterbacks Ty Storey, Daulton Hyatt, Connor Noland John Stephen Jones on campus right now. KJ Jefferson will be arriving this summer.
And they are trying to get a graduate transfer quarterback.
None of them are ahead of the others at this point. Some may think they know who’s better — or going to be — but the fact is nobody knows. That includes the coaches, by the way.
It’s all about the competition. Morris keeps saying, but nobody really wants to pay attention to it.
“We need competition at every position … we didn’t have enough of that this year,” he said at the signing day press conference last week.
The way things work in college football these days, every drill of every practice in the spring and fall camp will be scrutinized by the coaches. The thing Morris kept harping on last year was consistency at the position and he never really got it.
Now, to be fair, how much of that was on the quarterbacks, wide receivers or offensive line isn’t really known. Considering how poorly the latter two played at times, the quarterback really didn’t have much chance to be consistent.
What Morris will never do is publicly throw a player under the bus. Goodness knows, he had several opportunities over the past year to do just that (and with some, nobody would have criticized him). He doesn’t do that.
A national championship coach told me once, a couple of decades ago, a head coach is only as good as his assistants and a quarterback is only as good as the other 10 guys on the field allow him to be.
In the history of college football, no quarterback has done well throwing from a horizontal position, running like an inmate that just cleared the barbed wire or catching his own passes.
But in Morris’ system (and don’t talk about his offense because that can change with the skillset of the quarterback), the guy pulling the trigger has to make the correct decision consistently.
That puts a lot of pressure on the one player who’s going to get most of the credit or most of the blame … right or wrong.
And Morris wants that pressure to come in practice.
That’s why the competition at quarterback is going to be so critical. If any of these guys can’t handle the scrutiny and pressure in practice, how are they going to react when they have to go to Tuscaloosa in October?
Or, maybe more importantly, how are they going to handle things in Oxford the second week of the season?
All of that is why this is going to be an interesting spring practice at the quarterback position.
And an even more interesting fall camp.