Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen’s first significant action as Razorback didn’t exactly go as planned last Saturday night.
Sure, it started well. The redshirt freshman came on in place of injured starter Tyler Wilson and led the Razorbacks on a touchdown drive to open the third quarter. But it was the only bright moment in a second half that went array for the Razorbacks.
Allen completed just 6 of 20 passes for 85 yards with a touchdown and interception in the loss. He didn’t get much help from a run game that struggled and receivers who dropped passes. The issues, along with a defense that couldn’t stop ULM, led to Arkansas’ big lead crumbling in the 34-31 overtime loss.
But Allen hasn’t had time to sulk this week with Wilson still on the mend after his head injury against the Warhawks. Instead, he has been preparing for what potentially could be his first start against No. 1 Alabama in Razorback Stadium.
Allen, who spoke to the media after Tuesday’s practice, looked ahead to that possibility of getting his first start in the SEC opener and back at the lessons learned from the ULM loss in this week’s Q&A. Here’s part of the conversation:
Q: There were some good things. There were some bad things. What was the experience like for you the other night?
A: “It’s definitely a learning experience for me. Obviously, the first drive worked out well for us. Then after that we couldn’t really get much going the rest of the second half. It was disappointing for our whole team. We need to do better than that.”
Q: When you had the initial success and Arkansas goes up 28-7, we’re all thinking it’s going to be a routine victory. What was feeling on sideline?
A: “I think that’s what probably happened to us. Everyone’s thinking we’ve got this thing wrapped up and we kind of let off the pedal a little bit. And obviously that bites you in the butt and they came back and we lost the game.”
Q: What positives can you take out of a loss that tough?
A: “There’s no let-off. When you’re up on a team, you’ve got to put the pedal to the metal and keep going, keep scoring touchowns and get up by as much as you can. Otherwise you’re going to have that letdown and they’re going to come back, and you might lose the game.”
Q: How much do you think you grew in ULM game?
A: “A lot. When you get thrown in like that, and not doing well especially, like I did, it really opens your eyes up to, if you don’t play well you have a good chance of losing the game. Especially a game you should win. So that’s a big eye opener for me.”
Q: With Tyler’s situation still day-to-day, what’s the opportunity like for you to potentially go out there and face Alabama?
A: “I’m excited for it. As backup, every week you prepare to start just in case something like that happens. So I’m going to prepare like I always do, be ready to go into the game and lead the team down the field for some touchdowns.”
Q: How ready do you think you’ll be if you are the starter?
A: “I’ll be as ready as I always am. Every week I’m always with Tyler watching film, and in meetings and prepare the same. I’m ready just as if he wasn’t here every game. So if it happens, I’m ready to go in.”
Q: How nervous do you think you’ll be? What will that experience be like?
A: “There will be a little nerves. But after that first snap that usually all goes away.”
The Thursday Q&A is a weekly feature on the Hog Blog. Questions and answers come from group interview sessions with Arkansas players and coaches. So we can’t take credit for all of the questions that appear in the Q&A – especially the good ones!