FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas football coach Chad Morris has established a timetable for when he would like to name a starting quarterback.
“We do anticipate naming one at some point in time during fall camp,” Morris said Tuesday in the main room at SEC Media Days in Atlanta. “I’m excited about these guys. Each of these guys has worked on their craft and a weakness that they needed to through the course of the summer.”
Ty Storey, who worked with the first team offense for a good portion of the spring, and Cole Kelley, who played in nine games in 2017, were the primary competitors for the job this spring. Two signees from Morris’ first class, Connor Noland and John Stephen Jones, will join what Morris deems a “healthy competition” for the starting job.
At the conclusion of Arkansas’ spring game in Little Rock, Morris said he knew the development of his quarterbacks would be determined during workouts throughout the summer months. Morris has met with all of his quarterbacks this summer, he said.
“If I knew the answer to the quarterback scenario we have working right now we’d put it out there and let y’all run with it. But we don’t,” Morris said. “ … All the great quarterbacks I’ve been associated with and been around have all grown more in the time of summer development when they’re placed in a leadership position and in a role where young men can gravitate toward them and be led by them through summer workouts. We’ll see.”
Morris added that when a starter is named there are no guarantees that player will remain as the No. 1 option.
“It doesn’t mean you sign a lifetime contract,” he said. “There is no lifetime contract at the quarterback position. It’s a continual battle every day.”
SEC Network analysts Jordan Rodgers and Greg McElroy, who played at Vanderbilt and Alabama, respectively, also weighed in on the Razorbacks’ quarterback situation. Both voiced concerns about the fit of Arkansas’ current quarterbacks in Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock’s system.
“What I foresee for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the foreseeable future, I envision a quarterback similar to Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), of course Baker Mayfield, in a perfect world,” McElroy said. “I think the quarterback at some point, whether it’s this year or down the road, is going to have to turn into a little-bit-more athletic, creative guy who can do some things with his legs.”
Rodgers added that Arkansas has weapons offensively in Jared Cornelius, Jonathan Nance and Devwah Whaley, but that the quarterbacks, again, must fit what the staff wants. Decision making will be key, he said.
“Most importantly, play with suddenness. In an uptempo offense, you have to make decisions quick,” Rodgers said. “You are going to have to flip a 180 for a new offense that’s going to require some suddenness and confidence to play the position. Cole Kelley has the arm talent to do so, but can he process and throw the beating he took last season behind him to move forward?”