FAYETTEVILLE — Finally Ty Storey doesn’t stare at an Arkansas jersey with Allen on it ahead of him at quarterback.
But even as first Brandon Allen in 2015 and Austin Allen in 2016 and 2017 kept Storey on the Razorbacks bench, Arkansas’ now fourth-year junior from Charleston relishes all that he’s learned from the Allen brothers.
“It was a blessing playing behind those two guys,” Storey said. “Both of them are now in the NFL. I just look at the process they took and how they developed has definitely helped me.”
Last year, Storey stared behind two jerseys, Austin Allen’s and Cole Kelley, last year’s redshirt freshman who moved ahead of Storey during last August’s preseason and started the four games last year that Allen couldn’t because of injury.
Based on last year with former coach Bret Bielema and his staff, it would seem Kelley would have started last spring and this preseason with a leg up on Storey.
But going into Saturday’s first preseason scrimmage it’s been all even between Storey and Kelley, as coach Chad Morris and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Joe Craddock, it’s been all even between Storey and Kelley even their strengths differ.
Storey and Kelley are good friends straining to compete for the job they covet with scholarship true freshmen Connor Noland of Greenwood, and John Stephen Jones, the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner and former Razorback Jerry Jones and redshirt freshman Daulton Hyatt joining the hunt.
“We’re all trying to compete and trying to get better and it’s definitely a rollercoaster,” Storey said. “That’s the college game. College sports. You are always trying to compete against someone. If you’re not your team is probably not too good if you aren’t pushing each other to get better.”
Fans have at some past point exuded excitement over all these quarterbacks.
Just been awhile for Storey, since he was first Razorbacks brand new quarterback recruit as a midterm high school graduate eligible to practice for the 2014 December on campus preparations for the Liberty Bowl, to have the new QB excitement surrounding him as a fourth-year junior.
Has it been so long since it was new that he’s feeling old?
“I feel old — 22 is pretty old,” Storey said, laughing. “So I’m there.”
He learned from the Allens and so many others the nature of fans’ fickle quarterbacks infatuations.
“That’s just how it is,” Storey said. “It’s what you get when you sign up for the position. Everybody always wants something new. But it’s all about just trying to get better and try and make this team the best it can be and put our offense in the end zone. That’s the biggest part of being a quarterback.”
Much like former Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson, of Greenwood, who had to adjust from a shotgun snap Spread offense in high school to the snap from under center Pro-Style offense of former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, Storey’s early Arkansas development was impeded, having to adjust from the Spread at Charleston to Bielema’s more Pro-Style offense.
Wilson obviously adjusted as the 2011 All-SEC quarterback.
It would be asking much for Storey to match that, but at least he’s in a now familiar offense as his high school coach actually sought advice for Charleston’s Spread offense from Morris when Morris was Tulsa’s offensive coordinator.
“My high school coach talked to coach Morris and got a lot of their stuff,” Storey said. “But that was obviously awhile back. It’s all changed a little bit. I think we’re all getting pretty comfortable with the offense and it’s more about making the plays now.”
And adjusting from Bielema’s huddle up, take your time ball control premise to Morris’ hurry-up, no-huddle.
“I think that was the biggest key from what we were to what we’re in now,” Storey said. “Just keep getting faster and faster. I think we are definitely a lot faster than we were in the spring.”
And lighter, too.
“I went from 222 [pounds] to 215 and it’s good weight,” Storey, 6-foot-2, said. “My body fat went down two percent. Just energy and moving around it’s been huge.
This offense is about being light and able to move around. The whole key to the summer is we tried to trim up, everybody, so we could go as fast as we can.”
With nearly everybody trimming getting the edict to get light seems to have been readily accepted.
“Just how the whole season went last year, we obviously need to do something different,” Storey said. “I think how that year went is a good reason for us to do something more extra that we didn’t do last year.”
Although striving this year finally to get significant playing time, at the UA, Storey certainly hasn’t wasted time. He already wears a SEC graduate patch achieving his kinesiology degree last May.
So now what? Just take hours to be eligible or combine football and a masters degree?
“Definitely a masters,” Storey said. “My mom definitely was on me getting into a masters program.”
His scholastic smarts do translate to the field, a plus keeping him in starting contention.
“Ty has been knowledgeable of the offense, which is a strength of his,” Morris said. “Ty has gotten himself ready to go.”