FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Junior Jack Lindsey got his first chance to play quarterback this past Saturday night against LSU.
He made the most of the opportunity. He completed 3 of 4 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown while also carrying three times for another 30. Lindsey, who is the holder for placements, was pleased to get a chance at quarterback.
“Well, obviously super excited,” Lindsey said. “I hadn’t played a game since 2015, Conway High School in the state playoffs, so it was definitely very exciting to get back out there and play.”
Since he has been at Arkansas, how did he stay prepared for an opportunity that he didn’t know if it would ever come?
“Just staying the course and keep trying to do the little things right, just prepare every week like I was the starter,” Lindsey said. “That’s what I did. I just tried to make sure I was ready whenever I was given the opportunity.”
While his 24-yard touchdown pass to Mike Woods gets most of the attention, Lindsey also had a very nice 30-yard run.
“It was just a power read play and pre-snap, I knew I was going to keep it,” Lindsey said. “The o-line did a great job. Whenever I saw it come open, I got about 5 yards downfield and I was like, ‘Wow, I haven’t been tackled yet.’ That was just a good start, so props to the o-line.”
With news that both KJ Jefferson and Nick Starkel are in concussion protocol and then Missouri starter Kelly Bryant has to get his knee drained before each game to be able to play it’s possible that Lindsey could end up going against Taylor Powell. He’s a redshirt sophomore from Fayetteville High School who Lindsey knows well.
“That’s going to be really cool because he’s my best friend,” Lindsey said. “We actually played at Fayetteville High together, we grew up together, always competed against him. We’ve kind of been chirping back at each other. It’s just fun and games, but really excited to play him.”
Lindsey and Powell shared the quarterbacking duties at Fayetteville before Lindsey opted to transfer to Springdale for his senior season. He completed 201 of 305 passes for 2,226 yards, 16 touchdowns and only six interceptions while rushing for two more scores. He led Springdale to its first playoff appearance since 2011.
Lindsey seems to have gotten his chance with Barry Lunney Jr. serving as interim head coach. Arkansas is 2-9 on the season and owns an eight-game losing streak. But Lindsey said Lunney has them prepared to play the game.
“I think he’s done a great job,” Lindsey said. “He’s really emphasized that this is our home stadium. I always loved the Little Rock game. Little Rock game is one of my favorite games of the year. Just so much history there, then they play the state championship there for Arkansas high school football. So it’s important for me, just playing Arkansas high school football. I’m excited to get there. The Little Rock fans, they do a great job, it’s always a really fun atmosphere.”
Arkansas has a long losing streak in the SEC and that is something Lindsey would love to see end on Friday.
“It’d be great, it’d be nice to get the bad taste out of our mouths going into the offseason,” Lindsey said. “I think that’d be really good for the team just to get a taste of winning again because it’s been so long. So, it’d be really important.”
The last week has seen a lot of changes for Lindsey with the Hogs and he talked about that on Tuesday night.
“It was different, just because I’ve been scout team ever since I got here, since I stepped on campus,” Lindsey said. “So that was my first week of actually going through, getting some reps with the offense, so it was nice, it was fun, I enjoyed it.”
What’s it like being on the scout team that long?
“Coach Lunney — I can’t remember what Bible verse it was, I think it was in Galatians, maybe,” Lindsey said. “But it was, ‘Don’t grow weary of doing the little things, for you will reap your harvest if you do everything to the fullest with your heart.’ So, it’s kind of been a long time coming.
“I came in here with really nothing to lose. I was kind of a pipsqueak, I was small. My first year, I really didn’t belong here. You can ask all the other guys, I was looking around at all these other quarterbacks who were a lot better than me, so I just tried to keep working on my craft, getting bigger and stronger. I always felt that I had the mental grasp of the game down, but I just lacked physical ability. That’s a testament to Coach Herb (Ben Herbert) and Coach Tru (Carroll), just helping me out, gaining weight, getting faster and stronger.”
Lindsey only had an offer to Missouri Southern when he graduated high school. He reflected back on his size hurting him with the colleges.
“Yeah, that’s really what I lacked in high school,” Lindsey said. “I was 6-2, 165 ponds, really skinny, not athletic. But I had a really good coach, Zak Clark. I mean he coached Brandon Allen, Austin Allen, he coached Taylor Powell. He knows what he’s talking about. It’s been a blessing to have him as a coach. He’s also an uncle for me too.
“So growing up, we would have like Thanksgiving dinners and stuff. Most kids in seventh and sixth grade aren’t really worried about football and all that. They’re there to get their food. And my uncle is drawing up protection tests for me and different defenses and fronts. It’s just a real testament to him.”
His father is former Razorback tight end Lyndy Lindsey and the grandson of the legendary Jim Lindsey, who was on the 1964 National Championship team. Lindsey said his father is excited for him.
“Oh yeah, my dad is real invested in all of it,” Lindsey said. “He tries to stay out of it as much as possible. But he asks me a lot of questions and stuff. He’s been really big for me, just staying the course. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to play here. There was no question. I was either coming to play football here or I was going to school here. I wasn’t going to play football anywhere else. This is the place I wanted to be. So it’s just really been a privilege for me, a privilege and an honor just to be on the team. It was really a surreal moment for me to be able to play against the No. 1 team in the country.”
Lindsey may or may not play on Friday, but he knows the quarterback for Arkansas must have good game for the team to win.
“Well our offense goes as the quarterback goes,” Lindsey said. “That’s what Coach (Joe) Craddock has told us. There’s a lot that falls back on us just knowing protections and what the defense is doing and making sure everyone’s doing the right thing. That’s what I like. I like for a lot of it to be on my plate. So it never really bothered me, no.”
While Lunney has been very supportive of Lindsey, the junior also has the respect of his teammates.
“Jack is a good quarterback man,” McTelvin Agim said. “That’s why he’s here on scholarship and got put on scholarship in fall camp. Every quarterback we have in that room can play. When their name be called they’re always ready to step up.”
Former Fayetteville offensive lineman Ty Clary who is now the junior center with the Hogs recalled his days in high school when Lindsey and Powell were there.
“I remember my sophomore year of high school them battling it out for that starting spot,” Clary said. “Every game I’m pretty sure they switched who started. Now they might get to play against each other in college. The rivalry is back on.”
Arkansas and Missouri will battle at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.