Arkansas’ depth chart logjam at quarterback is finally about to sort itself out, at least a little bit. Backup quarterback Rafe Peavey has announced he’s transferring to SMU from Arkansas.
Thank you to the state of Arkansas!! pic.twitter.com/4W1rUZokcl— Rafe Peavey (@IThrowFootballs) August 24, 2016
In this day and age, it’s never a surprise when a backup quarterback transfers, especially when there doesn’t seem to be any indication he’s about to be the starter. That being said, Peavey has publicly given every indication through interviews and social media he was happy at Arkansas. He was widely expected to be Austin Allen’s backup quarterback this season.
And that may be the issue. Peavey was the clear #2 quarterback coming out of spring practice. However, an offseason back injury seems to have pushed him back down the depth chart. Bielema never announced he was the #2 quarterback throughout preseason camp, and even held Peavey out of last weekend’s scrimmage and offered a strange explanation for why he did so. Peavey had participated in limited practice in August while recovering from his injury, but instead of blaming Peavey’s absence on his recovery, Bielema indicated he wanted to see what Ty Storey and Cole Kelley could do.
Regardless, it seemed Peavey was out of the coaching staff’s plans for quarterback this season, and with Peavey just one year younger than Allen, it’s not hard to see that Peavey’s potential time as Arkansas’ starting quarterback would be very limited. True freshman Kelley has received plenty of hype this offseason, leading many to believe he could be the future at the position for the Razorbacks.
This makes things a little more clear for Arkansas this fall. Despite the hype, the coaches won’t burn Kelley’s redshirt if they don’t have to. I expect Ty Storey to be the Hogs’ #2 quarterback if Peavey leaves and Kelley the #3. Kelley will likely only see the field if there are significant injuries, and/or if Allen must miss significant time AND the coaches feel Kelley is that much farther ahead of Storey AND there is still something significant to play for.
Over the last decade, Arkansas has had to rely on backup quarterbacks for meaningful snaps in more seasons than not, so it’s a very important decision for the coaches to make heading into the season.