What's next for Arkansas Football?
Quarterback Brandon Mitchell
Quarterback Brandon Mitchell
Posted May 7, 2013

After being passed up to replace Tyler Wilson at quarterback, Arkansas senior Brandon Mitchell has elected to transfer. Doc Harper explores why this might not be as bad as you think for the Hogs.

The Razorbacks spent spring practice rebuilding themselves from the wreckage left behind by Hurricane John L...and now it appears the clouds might already be returning.

With redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen unofficially tabbed to lead the revival as the team's starter under center, senior quarterback Brandon Mitchell has decided to end his time in Fayetteville and transfer.

While Mitchell might not have been able to win the job to replace Tyler Wilson, he had several options to stay on the field at Arkansas.

He played wide receiver last season, catching 17 passes for 272 yards, and very likely could have helped the Hogs at the same position in 2013…this even though Arkansas still has many of the receivers Bobby Petrino stockpiled during his tenure in the Ozarks.

But Mitchell wanted to stay behind center and made it clear throughout spring he had no interest in playing any other position. Because of that, his loss should not significantly hurt the Razorbacks on the field in 2013.

Yes, check back in with us if anything happens to Allen, and it's always nice to have seniors on the roster to help develop younger players and provide leadership – especially in what's likely to be a trying season. But 2013 is really all about 2014…and the sooner the Hogs get Allen on the field, the better.

As a former Arkansas basketball player who could be an effective runner as well as a passer, Mitchell was known as the more athletic of Arkansas' quarterbacks. But Allen's mobility is underrated. Although not as fast as Mitchell, Allen may be the fastest starting quarterback Arkansas has had in nearly a decade. So the Razorbacks are really not losing much in terms of broad skill level.

That is, again, as long as Brandon Allen stays healthy.

Arkansas is no stranger to starting backup quarterbacks, doing so in 2008, 2010, and 2012 due to injuries. With Mitchell's departure, it's safe to say the Razorbacks' quarterback depth is ankle deep. If Allen goes down, Arkansas is left with former Iowa quarterback/bus-puncher A.J. Derby, and two true freshmen in Austin Allen (Brandon's brother) and Damon Mitchell (not Brandon Mitchell's brother). Neither freshman enrolled in the spring, so the official backup will likely not be known until August.

There are few SEC games on Arkansas' schedule that can be circled as likely victories this season, and it's hard to imagine the Razorbacks will be able to weather many injuries as Bret Bielema begins putting the Arkansas program back together. Injuries were near the top of the list of the many problems plaguing the Razorbacks last year, and the Hogs are still not deep enough to overcome similar problems again in 2013.

The good news for Arkansas fans is that Bielema and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney are installing an offense that, if we're to believe the spring practices, will be more reliant on the running game with a more forceful offensive line than Arkansas has seen in recent years. If that continues to develop, Arkansas may be able to keep Allen upright and under center, which is what the Hogs will need if they are to be competitive this fall.

Related Stories
Mitchell, Three Others To Transfer
 -by HawgsIllustrated.com  May 6, 2013
REPORTS: QB Transfers Considering NC State
 -by PackPride.com  May 8, 2013
TCU AD Confirms Arkansas Series
 -by HawgsIllustrated.com  May 8, 2013

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