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Razorback football report

Chaney: Allen in command

By Bob Holt , Tom Murphy

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 3:23 a.m.

arkansas-quarterback-brandon-allen-runs-through-drills-during-a-practice-saturday-april-5-2014-at-razorback-stadium-in-fayetteville

Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen runs through drills during a practice Saturday, April 5, 2014 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Brandon Allen - Tuesday Post Practice

Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen recaps the Razorbacks' second day of fall camp Tuesday. (By Andrew Hutchinson)
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FAYETTEVILLE -- Brandon Allen's healthy throwing shoulder and a more take-charge attitude have been among the most talked-about aspects of the first two days of Arkansas' camp.

"I couldn't be more pleased," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said in assessing Allen. "After two days he's executing the offense exactly like we need him to do. I'm really happy with him.

"His mechanics are cleaned up and polished. For the most part, his feet are set and he's throwing accurate balls. He's exciting to watch for me."

Allen, who worked on balance and footwork in Florida with 2000 Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke this summer, said he's speaking out more.

"I wasn't really a vocal guy coming in," Allen said. "I took the time to be a lot more vocal, getting my voice heard more than it has been. That's taking a role in this leadership that I'm trying to take over.

"I think when I speak it's something that should be heard by the team."

Running back Jonathan Williams said Allen is more in command at the line and in the huddle.

"In the huddle you hear a lot more confidence in him. He's calling the play loud and it's exciting to see how he's transformed," Williams said.

"It's a different young man than I coached in the fall, and I'm excited about him," Chaney said.

Line stays same

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman said the first team offensive line remains the same as when spring ended with Brey Cook and Dan Skipper at the tackle spots, Denver Kirkland and Luke Charpentier at guard, and Mitch Smothers at center.

Pittman said the second-team line has Austin Beck and Grady Ollison at tackle, Cameron Jefferson and Sebastian Tretola at guard, and true freshman Frank Ragnow at center.

The Razorbacks haven't gone in full pads yet, so the offensive line could reshuffle in the coming days.

Wilson's weight

Receiver Demetrius Wilson had reached his optimal weight of 200 pounds late in the summer, but when he returned from the NCAA-mandated off week before the start of camp he had lost down to 183 pounds, receivers coach Michael Smith said.

"I really don't know what happened," Wilson said. "Less hydration, not really eating the right foods and things like that?

"I'm definitely getting it back up. The other day I was 190, so things are starting to come back along."

The coaches want Wilson with more weight to help battle cornerbacks.

"We want him to try and keep that weight on," Smith said. "Going through these camps, you know those guys are going to lose weight, so we're going to feed him four times a day and try to get him up to his 200-pound weight."

Backup QBs

Jim Chaney said backup quarterbacks Austin Allen and Rafe Peavey have looked good.

"I think both of them are doing a good job," Chaney said. "Occasionally they'll have a little mental lapse."

Chaney said one of the goals was to get the team comfortable with the young quarterbacks being in the huddle.

"That's what they have to continue to get a better grasp of," he said. "I'm pressing them a little bit to see how quickly they can learn and how quickly they can adapt."

Chaney said Allen and Peavey have become louder at calling signals than they were in the spring.

"I can actually hear them call the snap count, so I'm very happy," he said.

Tight end AJ Derby, who is still considered an emergency quarterback option, has not taken any reps at the position through two days, Chaney said. Since Derby and receiver Damon Mitchell have played quarterback, Chaney said the plan is to keep them prepared to take snaps if needed.

Collins expands

Tailback Alex Collins said he's at 218 pounds after playing at 204 last season.

"I gained so much weight I was worried I might have lost a step slower or be uncomfortable, but it feels good," Collins said. "I want to be a more powerful back and a more downfield back, so that's kind of what I'm keying on this year."

High on Ty

Charleston High School quarterback Ty Storey signed an athletic financial aid agreement with Arkansas on Saturday, meaning he can enroll in January and go through spring practice with the Razorbacks.

"I've been around Ty a lot," Razorbacks offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. "He's been in camp many, many times and I have a good relationship with him and his family. This is a competitive kid who won a state championship. He has that 'it' factor about him. He knows when players are open, and he can deliver the ball accurately.

"I couldn't be more happy for him to be the first signing in this class. I think that's what you want, your bell cow to be that quarterback you feel comfortable about."

Long critics

Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, chairman of the college football playoff selection committee, was asked Tuesday during an ESPN appearance about his biggest fear going into the format's first season.

Long is leading the 13-member committee that will select matchups for the four-team playoff to determine the national champion.

"We know up front there's going to be criticism no matter what we do," Long said. "So that's really not a fear. We accept that, and we know that's going to be part of it. That's part of college football, to be quite honest.

"Any time you do a poll, there are going to be questions about who's ranked where."

The playoff committee will release its weekly top 25 poll starting Oct. 28, with Long making the announcements on ESPN. The final poll will be released Dec. 7 after the conference championship games.

"I think one of the challenges we have, and for me as the chair, is to keep our committee focused not just on the four or five, but through ranking that top 25," Long said. "Because whether a team is 16, 17 or 18, depending on that institution, it may mean a lot to that program -- building that program, recruiting for that program.

"So we want to make sure we get it right, not only the best four teams but also ranking that 25."

Sports on 08/06/2014

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