FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas redshirt freshman Cole Kelley zipped his third pass attempt of the day down the middle of the field and into the arms of Jordan Jones, who sprinted the rest of the way for a 63-yard touchdown.
Brandon Martin later dropped what would have been Kelley’s second touchdown pass. It felt at that point in the scrimmage — the Razorbacks’ first of the spring — like the 6-foot-7 Cajun had the clear edge in the ongoing backup quarterback battle.
But later in the day, sophomore Ty Storey’s passes were on point. He completed at least 5 consecutive attempts at one point. Then on the final play of the scrimmage, a Kelley attempt was swatted at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by nose tackle Bijhon Jackson.
So to summarize: Arkansas coaches are no closer to identifying quarterback Austin Allen’s 2017 backup and heir apparent.
Kelley finished the day 4 of 10 for 81 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception — although two of those incompletions were drops — while Storey was 7 of 13 for 84 yards.
“No, but I wish they would,” coach Bret Bielema said when asked if there had been any separation. “But it’s also good that there isn’t. They both do some good things and do some things that aren’t so good.
“I do think Ty is playing as well as he’s played since he’s been here. It wasn’t his best day but he was still pretty good in some things. His command and presence and composure are always really good.
“Cole tries to do a lot of things. They are kind of two different personalities. Cole thinks he’s [Brett] Favre, [Troy] Aikman … and Ty is just trying to be Ty Storey.”
Storey was the first quarterback to take a snap with the No. 2 offense Saturday. The two have been evenly splitting reps through the first six practices of the spring.
Storey and Kelley emerged as the top-2 options to be Allen’s backup last fall, a fact that caused both Rafe Peavey and Ricky Town to transfer. Storey was officially the No. 2 guy, but Kelley — then a true freshman — pushed him and, truth be told, may well have been Allen’s backup if there wasn’t a redshirt season to preserve.
The true offensive stars of the day were the running backs. Junior Rawleigh Williams III — who led the SEC in rushing yardage during the regular season in 2016 — carried the ball 19 times for 189 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore Devwah Whaley added 14 carries for 86 yards, while true freshman and early enrollee Maleek Williams recorded 18 rushes for 88 yards against the second-team defense.