The Red-White game is over, and Red defeated White 34-27. With the skills that the Arkansas players displayed in front of more than 50,000 fans, the rest of the fanbase has plenty to look forward to in 2013.
One of the most important questions surrounding the program has been: "Who will replace Tyler Wilson?" Despite what happened in 2012, Wilson was an excellent signal-caller who took Arkansas to great heights during his career (specifically in 2011).
The two top candidates following the spring game are Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell. Let's break their performances down and see where they stand.
Allen: 11-of-16 for 158 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.
Mitchell: 12-of-17 for 138 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
As far as sacks go, Allen took two and Mitchell took only one. Ultimately, neither fumbled the ball, and both were more than effective at their position.
Since spring games are much shorter than regular games, those numbers are very low. If you want a good idea of how those stats would translate to a real game, simply multiply by two.
This puts things into better perspective. In that case, Allen would have gone 22-of-32 for 316 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Mitchell would have gone 24-of-34 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
In this case, the analysis is quite simple. Over an entire game, Allen has a decided statistical advantage over Mitchell. In fact, the biggest factor is the last stat. Interceptions can screw a game up faster than any other blown play.
If the interceptions were reversed, the Razorbacks would likely favor Mitchell even with the lower yardage stats. At the end of the game, touchdowns and turnovers are all that matter. Everything else is for publicity.
Edge: Brandon Allen
Poise and Potential
While Mitchell is the senior, Allen looked more calm and collected in the pocket. At times, Mitchell looked unbeatable, but Allen was the more consistent of the two.
Allen is already a good quarterback, and he is two years behind Mitchell. If he is put into real-game situations in 2013, he could be the quarterback that puts Arkansas in the SEC title game.
He must be given the opportunity to develop under the new staff as soon as possible. If he's noticeably better than the other option while two years behind him, how good will he be when he's in the same position in two more seasons?
Edge: Brandon Allen
Allen is listed at 6'3" and 214 pounds. Mitchell is listed at 6'4" and 239 pounds. This is quite an easy analysis. Mitchell is much more durable in the long run than Allen is. However, if the offensive line does its job, that won't be an issue.
Arkansas has a rushing attack, and neither quarterback is a true dual-threat. Both have the ability to break free and get the first down, but we're not looking at a Cam Newton or Johnny Manziel anywhere on the field.
Edge: Brandon Mitchell
In the two of the three major categories, Allen has an edge over Mitchell. If anyone out there is specifically a Mitchell fan, there is one piece of news that you'll love: It's not that big an advantage.
As long as these two are playing with spring-game consistency, Arkansas has two quarterbacks that can win games. The Hogs shouldn't go so far as to play both of them consistently, but keeping the backup constantly ready to take over will spell great success for the program.
Allen is clearly the front-runner for the starting gig, but it's still not out of reach for Mitchell. One game could make the difference. Actual game-time performance will either confirm Allen as the starter or put Mitchell in the spot.
If Allen stays clean against ULL in the season opener, he will be fine. It's his slot to lose. If you are looking for further confirmation, here it is:
Bielema: Brandon Allen played his best football the last two weeks. Mitchell does good things, does things that set you back— Thomas Murphy (@TomMurphyADG) April 20, 2013