Cole Kelley is a young Arkansas quarterback that I intended to write about much earlier, but I never got around to it.
I loved his size at 6-7, 270, and I loved his potential. I loved any videos I had seen of him. He’s a big, strong kid that is raw, but he’s got some athletic ability and a super strong arm. He’s also hard to bring down for defenses.
With regular senior starter Austin Allen injured, redshirt freshman Cole Kelley got his first start this past Saturday.
Unfortunately, his first start came at Alabama.
Top ranked Alabama brought blitzes from everywhere all night long not allowing the young Kelley much time to throw. They confused him, and the offensive line, and made it a rough
evening for the young giant.
He threw 43 passes and was hit solidly by a Bama defender on practically every passing attempt. Kelley was sacked 5 times, but that number is not indicative of the total beating he took on the night.
But, he’s a tough kid and kept coming back for more.
The first half of the game was brutal for Kelley. Then, he showed a lot of heart and led Arkansas on a drive late in the 2nd quarter and right before half time. The Razorbacks did not score when they went for it on 4th down inside the 10 yard line instead of kicking a field goal. They didn’t make it and were behind 24-0 at the half.
For one play that happened in the 3rd quarter, he actually had good protection and he took off running. He got the needed first down and a few more yards before he was brought down by a couple of Alabama players. He dealt about as much pain to the defenders as he had absorbed himself.
Cole Kelley can run, and he should have run more often.
The giant freshman quarterback from Lafayette, Louisiana is still really raw. He’s very inconsistent with his passes. But, he can throw one at times that is a thing of beauty. He throws too hard at close up receivers kind of like some small kids that are learning to play baseball. As the game progressed, maybe his nerves calmed down and his passing improved.
The Razorbacks were beaten 9-41 on the night by the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. But, Cole Kelley can hardly be blamed.
Seeing a young player like Cole Kelley at 6-7, 270 it’s hard to not think of former Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen. It was the wild days of head coach Hal Mumme and his fast paced offense. The huge 6-4, 300 Lorenzen was named the starter over a returning guy as a redshirt freshman and played for the Wildcats for 4 seasons.
The huge Lorenzen throw for over 10,000 yards at Kentucky under 3 different head coaches, but starting with legendary Hal Mumme.
While the comparisons are legit on size, Kelley is a much better athlete than Lorenzen. But, Lorenzen was more ready to play and as a true freshman, he threw for over 3,600 yards.
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is in serious trouble of losing his job in Fayetteville. The Hogs aren’t happy with his rate of improvement, or lack of improvement. His best season came in 2015 when the team finished with an 8-5 record and this season, the Razorbacks are sitting at 2-4 which isn’t going to get it done. Arkansas has a rich and proud tradition and even though their last national title was in 1964, they are still used to winning.
Things don’t look great for Bret Bielema, but if he’s back next season Cole Kelley should be his starting quarterback.
I am excited to see if this 6-7, 270 quarterback can develop and fulfill his tremendous potential.