As we go into his senior year, Austin Allen is one of the top returning quarterbacks in the SEC. He leads returning quarterbacks in passing yards, passing touchdowns and quarterback rating in 2016. All that to say the only way anyone else at quarterback will be there because of a blowout or an injury.
The most important thing involving the quarterback is everything surrounding him. Allen will be throwing to a new group of receivers and will be hoping the offensive line improves and keeps him upright. Because in addition to throwing a ton of yards, he got hit a lot. With the efficiency Allen showed in 2016 with Dan Enos running the offense makes me pretty confident in the passing game, even with the new receivers.
Aside from Allen, there is a fight for the backup spot between Ty Storey and Cole Kelley. The winner of that race likely sets up in the pole position for the starting job next year. Right now, Bret Bielema has said no one estabished themselves in the spring but Storey was the only one to get any game time behind Allen. Even if it was an uneventful 1-for-4 with three yards.
Kelley redshirted so he still has all four years of eligibility, and may have the most natural talent behind Allen. He also has the physical tools, standing at 6-foot-7 and over 260 lbs. The question for him has been can he stay healthy. Kelley has more arm strength but is still learning when to put some touch on passes that don’t need to be fired in.
So the battle for the backup is a question of if you prefer consistency or a higher talent ceiling. If Kelley can raise his level of consistency then expect him to get more reps with the twos. Hopefully we get a look at who is out in front with some playing time in the season opener against Florida A&M.