It didn't take long for Arkansas coach Houston Nutt to elevate Mitch Mustain to starting quarterback. The true freshman from Springdale showed enough in a fourth-quarter touchdown march against Southern Cal to move to the top of the depth chart.
Nutt named Mustain the starter for this week's Utah State game at his Sunday afternoon media briefing. The head coach also announced that Robert Johnson, the starter against USC, would move to wide receiver.
"We'll go with Mitch now," Nutt said. "We have to get him ready and we'll go with Casey Dick behind Mitch.
"Robert Johnson took the news with integrity and class. We want to get him a true role at wide receiver. This is not his fault. The fumbles were not his fault. Some dropped passes are not his fault, but Mitch has done good things all through fall camp, thrown the ball very accurately and been very good under pressure. He got in the game and executed and took the team down the field."
Nutt said Mustain will get "85 to 90 percent" of the practice time and Dick would get the remainder.
"We are moving Robert because there just wouldn't be any practice time for him," Nutt said. "Mitch is going to get most of the practice snaps and we could not divide second-team reps. Robert's very popular with his teammates. He works so hard and that's why we want to get him a true role. He was disappointed today when I talked to him, but his words were, ‘I'll do anything for the team.' He was really concerned to do what's best for the team."
The head coach said he came to the conclusion Saturday night after the game that it was time to make a change. He met with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and quarterback coach Alex Wood at length early Sunday and all were in agreement on the timing of the move.
"It's been close, but we went with experience for this game," Nutt said. "I had wanted to get Mitch in the game early last night. There was a series early in the game, maybe the third series and I wanted to go with Mitch then. Gus and Alex wanted to stick with Robert because he really hadn't done anything wrong. Nothing was his fault."
Mustain Elevated to Starting QB
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