What if Connor Noland is best QB at Arkansas in 2018 and offensive line still like a sieve?
Question of the Day: Friday, April 13, 2018
This question provides tons of intrigue. There is no right answer as to what is the best move for first-year coach Chad Morris in 2018. Let’s consider the options.
First, the job itself. Junior Ty Storey and sophomore Cole Kelley have the best odds to earn the gig. Redshirt freshman Daulton Hyatt looks like he can compete, but probably not this season. Connor Noland is a highly touted 4-star signee from just down the road in Greenwood. He will be a fan favorite. If Kelley and Storey don’t appear more ready in the fall than they did this spring, the clamor for Noland will be loud.
Morris would be right to ignore it, but not because Noland isn’t the best option. Placating fans so early into a tenure is a bad idea, regardless. The big question is what such a gig would do for Noland in the long-term.
The current high school senior is as level-headed as they come. Ego is limited and he has not been coddled. No doubt he could take the job mentally. Physically, though…
Noland is a bit on the skinny side. Not a bad thing in and of itself and also not unusual for 18-year-olds headed off to college. Consider, though, the sieve that is the Arkansas offensive line. For two years they let Austin Allen get his body beat to a veritable pulp. Somehow he made it through without being concussed. Shot after shot he took, and, the belief is out there, including with me, that the hammering he took for two years severely damaged his NFL potential.
Morris probably shouldn’t do that to his potential quarterback of the future. If Noland is only a marginally better option than Storey and Kelley, keep him sidelined. At least, keep him learning until the offensive line provides some cohesion.
Hate to say “Yeah, sorry, Ty, sorry, Cole, but you guys are expendable.” Someone has to take the beating. It probably just shouldn’t be Noland if the line hasn’t improved and Morris believes the future lies in Noland’s right arm.