Arkansas redshirt junior-to-be quarterback Austin Allen has waited three years to take over for his older brother Brandon as the starting quarterback and he is not about to let that spot go without a fight.
In fact, when he hears the media or fans talk about how it is his job to lose, he thinks just the opposite - it is his to win.
“No way in the world I look at it as mine to lose,” Allen said. “I am going into the spring with the idea that this is my job to win and the other guys want it just as bad as I do. So I need to be at my best every day, every practice, every rep.”
Arkansas began its spring workouts on Tuesday with Allen leading the first offense as he tries to live up to the standard set last season by his older brother.
“I just think of it as he was one of the best quarterbacks in the nation last year,” the younger Allen said. “Why wouldn't you want to play to his level or a step further than his level? In football we don't really think of each other as brothers and all that stuff. I learned from him. I try to play up to his level and try to play better.”
As Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema noted Monday, Austin is more laid back than Brandon.
“We’re just different in our own ways,” Allen said. “He's a little bit more of a scrambler. I'll sit in there a little bit longer. I mean, I don't know. He's a little bit more serious than I am sometimes. We're different people.”
While he is now the lead guy in the huddle, Allen noted he tried to have that mindset last season.
“I mean, last year was kind of like, being the two you want to act like you're the one, so you take every day like you're the next guy up,” Allen said. “You take every day serious. I did that last year and I think it really helped this year.”
It will be his second season to work under offensive coordinator Dan Enos and that is something he believes is a great benefit.
“I feel very comfortable with the playbook,” Allen said. “We had Hoganese and all that stuff throughout off-season and just being my second year with Coach Enos is night and day difference.”
Allen will try to fend off redshirt sophomore-to-be Rafe Peavey and redshirt freshmen-to-be Ty Storey and Ricky Town for the starting signal caller job.
Senior wide receiver Keon Hatcher missed all of last season due to an injury.
“Man, it felt great,” Hatcher said. “Just getting out there and being able to run around with my guys, it felt really good.”
He worked with Allen this off-season.
“Austin looked good today,” Hatcher said. “Working with him during the off-season, he's throwing the ball pretty well.
“I feel like Austin is a little bit more laid back, chill. Brandon was more demanding. They have their pros and cons, both of them, but I think Austin is going to be a really good quarterback for us.”
Town arrived at the end of August last season and Tuesday was the first time members of the media got a chance to see him throw.
“Ricky can throw a really good ball,” Town said. “With him, I feel like it's just learning the terminology, the playbook. He's a young guy and he just came in last fall right before the season started, but I think Ricky is going to be really good later on down the line.
“I like his ball. He can throw a really tight spiral. He has nice arm strength.”