No Complaints

Former starting quarterback Casey Dick is one of the reserves that University of Arkansas hopes to get significant action Saturday when the No. 17 Razorbacks (4-1, 3-0) host Southeast Missouri State (3-2) in a 1 p.m. game at Reynolds Razorback Stadium

FAYETTEVILLE — Casey Dick is polite and doesn't want to say anything negative. That's just a part of his personality.

Even when several of his Arkansas teammates heckled him earlier this week about his girlfriend, Dick didn't respond. He just smiled and kept walking.

The sophomore has taken a similar approach when it comes to his role as the backup quarterback for the No. 17 Razorbacks (4-1, 3-0 SEC).

If he wanted to, Dick could complain about not getting much of a chance to compete for the starting job he held at the end of last season, now that his lower back feels fine. But that's not his personality.

Instead, he's cordial and careful with his words, saying it's "exciting" to stand on the sidelines and watch as freshman Mitch Mustain runs the offense.

"Everybody on this team has a role. You've got to go about your role like you go about everything else you do in your life," Dick said. "Everybody has a role, so you've just got to go about it and have fun with it and always stay prepared."

But don't be fooled by Dick's low-key demeanor. He's an intense competitor who wants to play and hates to lose — even if it's at a friendly game of Monopoly or spades.

"His mom used to tell him he cheated all the time when he was a kid playing cards," said Dick's father, Steve, an accountant in Allen, Texas. "He didn't want to lose. He hates to lose."

Dick started the final four games of last season as a true freshman, leading the Razorbacks to a pair of wins and completing 53.5 percent of his passes for 584 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

But he has seen much less work this season as a backup. Through five games, Dick has only completed two passes for 59 yards — both in the second half of Arkansas' 20-0 win over Utah State on Sept. 9.

There is a good chance, however, that Dick could get more work today. Arkansas' coaches have spoken this week about wanting to get the 6-foot-2, 207-pound sophomore some playing time against NCAA Division I-AA member Southeast Missouri State (3-2) in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"We'd definitely like to. He's a competitor, and I know he wants to play," Arkansas offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. "He's a very good quarterback in his own right, so definitely, we're hoping to get him on the field."

After finishing last season as the starter, Dick went into the start of preseason practices as Arkansas' No. 1 quarterback. He was considered the favorite to beat out junior Robert Johnson and Mustain in a three-man race.

But Dick never got a chance to win the job. A nagging back injury, which affected his throwing motion in the spring, forced him to miss most of practice in August.

Arkansas' athletic trainers weren't certain what the injury was, and Dick's back didn't improve with rest. He was clearly frustrated.

"It was real hard," Steve Dick said. "He's coming off an injury, and he couldn't go out there and compete and couldn't go through the two-a-days and the summer ball."

After visiting a physician in Little Rock, Dick learned that the pain in his lower back was caused by muscle tightness. But by then, Johnson had done enough to earn the starting job — albeit briefly.

A day after struggling in a 50-14 loss to No. 3 Southern California in the season opener, Johnson was moved to wide receiver and Mustain took over as the starter. Meanwhile, Dick accepted his role as the backup, taking his limited snaps in practice and never complaining publicly.

"Oh, he's disappointed he's not playing," Arkansas quarterbacks coach Alex Wood said. "He better be. He's a competitor."

Dick said his back no longer hurts, adding that it's been completely healed for the last two months. But the Razorbacks can't afford to redshirt him because of the lack of depth at quarterback.

"I'm just back there in case something happens," Dick said. "You never know what's going to happen."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories