The line behind Arkansas starting quarterback Brandon Allen is a long and talented one with a trio of contestants trying to inch closer to the starting line themselves.
Allen is backed up by his younger brother and redshirt sophomore-to-be Austin Allen (6-1, 210), redshirt freshman-to-be Rafe Peavey (6-2, 201) and Ty Storey (6-3, 211), a true freshman who enrolled in January.
All had their moments in last Saturday’s scrimmage per offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos.
“I thought they were good,” Enos said. “The big thing was we didn't turn the ball over -- knock on wood -- which was obviously a huge emphasis for our entire football team.
“As I told them after, they all did something really well and they all did something they wish they had back, which is how a lot of games go.
“I thought for the most part they were all very solid with a limited number of plays. Obviously we're going to increase that this week. So their plays will increase and we're going to try to put them in more situations.”
Brandon Allen has kept his eyes on his understudies.
“They are still coming along,” Brandon Allen said. “They are doing a lot of good things and when we watch film we see things that they can do better.
“I think the competition going on with all them right now is just really pushing each one of them to kind of perfect their craft. They are coming out each day splitting reps and you have got to make the most of the opportunities they get.”
Austin Allen is the only other quarterback who has played collegiately, having seen action in five games.
He was 8-of-16 passing for 153 yards and one rushing touchdown.
His biggest moment came while replacing his injured older brother, who left the game with a 17-0 lead against No. 8 Ole Miss.
“I like the 17-0 lead I got to go in with,” Allen said. “It was good. I felt prepared going in. I felt like I was prepared all year, just studying with Brandon and all the quarterbacks each week.
“Whenever it is your time, you just have to step up. That is what Coach B preaches and that is what I try to do.”
The younger Allen notes that game has really helped his confidence grow.
“I think it helped my confidence a lot,” Allen said. “Just being out there and seeing how fast you have to actually go through the reads and understand everything about it.
“I feel like it has carried over to this spring, I feel more confident in seeing the defense and I understand protections better.”
Brandon Allen played hurt in the regular season finale at Missouri when some fans thought he should have come out when struggling at the end.
“He is a competitor and I would have done the same thing if I was him,” Austin Allen said. “You are going to have to drag me off the field before I will come off the field. So I respect him going out there and trying to play, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to be out there playing.
“Every quarterback would be doing the same thing he was doing.”
The younger Allen is excited about having Enos as well.
“It’s been great,” Allen said. “He is enthusiastic all the time. He has played the position before so he understands what we are thinking out there and every thing about it. It’s been great so far.”
Allen has gone from a meek signal caller to someone who will get on his teammates if need be.
“It’s night and day,” Allen said. “The first time going into the huddle, you are trying not to ruffle any feathers or say anything wrong.
“Now I am the older guy in the two huddle now and I will tell people to ‘step it up’ when they are not playing up to their potential. I feel like I am comfortable enough to do that now.”
Peavey enrolled in January of 2014 and noted last spring that his head was spinning with the step up for high school football to the college level.
“It is like night and day honestly,” Peavey said. “Just getting used to everything. I am starting my third semester here so I am getting used to school and that helps a whole lot so I can just focus on football now and not worry about all that stuff.
“Everything is just really slowing down now.”
Peavey admits that not being the guy - as he had been for so long - was tough for him last season.
“It was pretty tough and it was a whole new experience for me,” Peavey said. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was so beneficial for me and really happy that it happen.
“…I got to learn how to game plan people, how to watch film, how to practice, just how to have the mindset of a Division I quarterback in the SEC.”
He does not worry at this point whether he is second, third or fourth in the quarterback competition.
“I just try to focus on what I can do and I just try to get one percent better every single day,” Peavey said. “That is kind of the mentality that I have so I am not worried about who is above me or who is below me.
“I am just focused on what I can do and trying to get better."
Storey, who was not in the interview room on Thursday, has impressed Brandon Allen.
“It is tough as an incoming freshman and I think Ty is doing a great job adapting to the speed of the game,” Brandon Allen said. “There is always that freshman learning curve at the quarterback position and for how young he is, he is doing a great job of showing leadership out there and not being the shy new guy.”
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