As Arkansas heads for a bit of a break following the conclusion of spring practice and prior to the start of the summer conditioning program, Bret Bielema has tabbed his starter at quarterback.
On the Hogs’ post-spring depth chart released Monday, Brandon Allen was listed as the starter at the quarterback position. Brandon Mitchell, who has been battling Allen for the right to replace Tyler Wilson, was listed as the No. 2 QB.
In quotes distributed by the school, Bielema stated that the decision to put Allen No. 1 on the depth chart simply boiled down to the fact that the front-runner took better care of the football than his competition.
“Brandon Allen, from the first week to the game on Saturday, made progress all the way along,” Bielema said. “The last two weeks have been exceptional. Brandon Mitchell does a lot of good things as well. The one thing that we can’t do is we can’t turn the football over. We can’t create negative plays on our own, and I think Brandon Allen did a better job of that and has progress in a way to put him in that position.”
The decision to tab Allen as the starter entering summer should come as little surprise as, back in early April, Bielema had stated that the newly-minted starter “had a little bit of an edge” on Mitchell. Allen continued to take a sizable share of the reps with the first-team offense throughout the spring, leading most to assume he was the presumptive leader for the job.
Allen, Wilson’s primary backup last year and a four-star member of UA’s 2011 recruiting class, played in five games as a redshirt freshman in 2012, starting one of those contests and completed less than 50 percent of his passes (21-49) for one touchdown and three interceptions on the year.
As for Mitchell, he could see some time at another position if the depth chart remains the same. As a redshirt junior in 2012, Mitchell, who served as Wilson’s backup in 2011, was moved to wide receiver.
Bielema hinted that Mitchell contributing at a position other than QB was certainly a possibility.
“ I’m a big believer that everyone on this team has a role,” the first-year UA coach said. “I don’t care if you are the second-string quarterback or the second-string snapper or middle linebacker. Whatever that role is, you need to know where it’s going to be.
“With Brandon Mitchell at quarterback, he definitely has some special gifts that we can use. If there’s another role, another position we can use him at, we’ll work together on that.”