FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas freshman Cole Kelley always has stood out because of his 6-foot-7 frame and big arm.
While those things still distinguish him, Kelley quickly is learning the intricacies of playing quarterback in college.
“He’s still gotta continue to work the basics,” Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema said. “He’s got a tendency to just try to strong-arm the ball rather than using those feet, those legs to drive the ball where it needs to be … probably has thrown a couple balls that you can get away with in high school that you can’t at this level. He’s just gotta learn those processes.”
The Lafayette, La., native also is adjusting to taking a snap behind center. In high school, Kelley played in a no-huddle, up-tempo system that mostly used the shotgun.
Kelley talked about adjusting to college during an interview with SEC Country on Arkansas’ local media day earlier this week.
How has the transition gone so far?
It’s been pretty smooth overall so far. The biggest thing for me is, obviously, my footwork, coming out and under center since I was out of the shotgun in high school about every play. Other than that, just the simple things quarterbacks usually have trouble with when they get to college. The speed of the game, making the right reads at the right time. But I think as time goes on I’ll be able to get more comfortable and get better.
Are there advantages and disadvantages to having so many quarterbacks on one roster?
I think it’s helped us out. It’s harder for everybody to get reps in practice and stuff, but that’s a good problem to have, in my opinion. If Austin (Allen) goes down, we’ve got great talent behind them.
What has your relationship with Austin Allen been like so far?
That was one of the things that coach (Dan) Enos told me coming in was to be a sponge and learn from Austin, follow him around, learn from what he does on and off the field. He’s a great leader and a great quarterback. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been asking him questions. I’m sure he probably gets annoyed with me sometimes because I’m asking so many questions, but he’s done a great job of leading the team and the quarterbacks.
What do you make of your freshman class as a whole?
We’ve got a lot of talent in our class, I think, and we’ve got a lot of good people, too. I think that’s one of the things that makes people choose to come to Arkansas. There’s a lot of good people here. It’s like a family atmosphere. Our class is pretty special.