FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — As the decision who to start at quarterback has lingered into the week of the first game some are critical that Chad Morris hasn’t named a starting signal caller.
Many want to compare it to last season when Morris started three different quarterbacks including a different one the first two weeks of the season. They feel had Morris named a quarterback earlier last fall the play would have been different.
The truth is when Morris names a quarterback should have nothing to do with how the one he chooses plays in a game. Quarterback is different than virtually all other positions on the field in that if he is playing well the chances are great no one is substituted for him outside of a one-sided score or injury.
But forget the coach, what has to happen in a quarterback battle is someone has to take charge of the position and play to a level it makes it impossible for the coach to take him out. It wasn’t the timing of the decision last year it was the results on the field that caused uncertainty at quarterback.
Cole Kelley started against Eastern Illinois, but Arkansas only scored 10 points in the first quarter, a field goal, defensive touchdown and PAT. Ty Storey came in the second quarter and led the Hogs to 28 points.
So it was Storey who started at Colorado State the next week. Storey played the first half and was 5 of 13 passing for 36 yards and two interceptions. He was replaced by Kelley in the second half. Kelley passed for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
So back to the third game and North Texas in town. Kelley started and went 16 of 35 passing for 185 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. He was replaced the following week by Storey who started the remainder of the games other than Tulsa when he was hurt. True freshman Connor Noland started that game.
The truth was no one played so well last season that it made it impossible for Morris to replace them. Thus the reason for the quarterback shuffle to start the season.
This year it doesn’t matter who Morris chooses that quarterback needs to play so well against Portland State the coach has no plans to take him out unless once again barring injury or a one-sided score. Then repeat that at Ole Miss and the remainder of the season.
It will be how the quarterback he chooses plays that will determine who starts the remainder of the games. It won’t matter if the date he names a starter is today, Monday or anytime after that leading up to the game.
The quarterback gets too much credit when things go well and too much blame when not going so great. But it’s an important position and unlike running back, wide receiver, tight end or most other positions the one chosen to start usually gets all the snaps unless he doesn’t play well.
The play on the field, not the timing of the decision will determine how the quarterback is viewed this fall. If one quarterback takes the job and shows the consistency needed to give the Hogs a chance to win the games then ultimately a hard decision will become an easy one.