Brandon Allen has a lot to prove on August 31st, maybe more than any other Arkansas player. During the 2011 season there was some discussion that he might pass Brandon Mitchell on the depth chart, but he redshirted that year but did pass him as a redshirt freshman in 2012, but with mixed results.
Brandon went 3 for 4 on his first collegiate drive as the Razorbacks marched straight down the field in War Memorial to create a 21 point advantage against Lousiana-Monroe in 2012, and I remember feeling at that moment, that we were going to be okay with Tyler concussed and even after he left for the NFL Draft. But after that, Brandon only completed 3 of his next 16 passes, including ending the game with 7 straight incompletions. It didn't get prettier the next week against Alabama. Brandon ended up 21 of 49 on the season with 186 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.
But that was then, this is now. Brandon Allen has already proven a lot. He bounced back in the Spring Game and outperformed Brandon Mitchell to take over this team. He's really shown his stuff in the scrimmages going 16-for-17 in the one fall scrimmage open to the public and media, and reportedly even on incompletions in practice, he is still making smart plays with the ball and not getting intercepted.
It has to be hard to be Allen with the natural comparisons to the most recent Arkansas quarterbacks. Ryan Mallett came into his first starting action as a Razorback with a reputation as a big time recruit with a huge arm that would hurl passes that hurt the hands of the receivers. Wilson filled in for Mallett at the end of the Auburn game in 2010 and threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. We knew what we were getting with those two QBs and we got what we expected. Their reputations proved accurate as neither posted a QB rating below 110 in their first season. Brandon was a 4*, #5 in the nation pro-style quarterback recruit out of high school but comes into this season with fresh images of his 2012 struggles on people's minds.
So what should fans expect in 2013 from Brandon Allen? He probably won't have the monster stats like Wilson and Mallett, but he could have their accuracy and their leadership. His substitution appearances in 2012 weren't nearly as spectacular as Wilson's 2010 Auburn performance (which people forget ended with two interceptions), but that doesn't mean Allen can't grow into a worthy heir as the next Razorback quarterback. The coaches have raved about him this fall, and we expect to see a much more poised, effective Brandon Allen under center this season than what we saw last year.
Brandon Allen, just like every other player on this team, has a clean slate. The 2013 Arkansas Razorbacks take the field in just 10 days and Brandon Allen is their leader. Will he get his revenge on the state of Louisiana? Will he manage to keep his younger brother on the bench? Will he consistently post QB ratings of 100 or better? Will he play with a chip on his shoulder?
We know how good we can be, and we're out to prove to a lot of people how good we are.
Will he take the #neveryield #1-0 philosophy to heart and lead this team to a victory over the Louisiana Lafeyette Ragin' Cajuns?
I don't know the answer to any of these questions, but like you, I can't wait to find out in just 10 short days.