Arkansas coach Bret Bielema saw enough from Brandon Allen this spring to know that his first-year starting quarterback was made of the right stuff.
Allen, a third-year sophomore, takes over for a guy, Tyler Wilson, who passed for more than 7,000 yards and had 45 touchdown passes over the past two seasons. Nobody is expecting Allen to step in and put up those kind of numbers right away, but the Hogs are also counting on Allen being a lot more than just a caretaker on offense.
He'll have to be with the loss of veteran running backs Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson, as well as the SEC's leading receiver a year ago, Cobi Hamilton, and top tight end Chris Gragg.
"We have to give him a plan so that he knows how to have success," Bielema said. "We don’t want him making decisions that he doesn’t need to make."
Bielema has joked that the Hogs will play "normal American football" on his watch, which means they're going to run the football, play a physical brand of football and strive for balance on offense.
And, no, Bielema won't be pushing offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to run 90 plays a game.
"We'll put Brandon in a position to do what he does best," Bielema said. "One of the things I’ve learned about him is that he has the ability to correct a play when it happens. That’s the thing about a quarterback. You’re going to have plays that break down, but what are you going to do?
"Are you going to stand around and freeze and wet the bed, or are you going to go ahead and make a play and try to make something happen. I think he’s got the ability to do that."