HawgBeat - Young Arkansas quarterbacks getting up to speed
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Young Arkansas quarterbacks getting up to speed

Razorback redshirt freshman quarterback KJ Jefferson.
Razorback redshirt freshman quarterback KJ Jefferson. (Nikki Chavanelle | HawgBeat.com)

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Arkansas offensive coordinator Kendal Briles told the local media Friday that the starting quarterback job is essentially Feleipe Franks' job to lose, but the question remains, who will develop into the trusty No. 2 during fall camp?

Whether it's to add some flavor to the offense on certain drives or to come in as back up, the Hogs need to find the most reliable player to stand ready next to Franks. Arkansas returns former walk-on Jack Lindsey, redshirt sophomore John Stephen Jones and redshirt freshman KJ Jefferson. All three started a game for the Razorbacks in 2019 but none led the team to success.

"I've been really pleased with how KJ Jefferson has picked up the offense and sees where he's supposed to go with the ball and things of that nature," Sam Pittman said last week. "You look at Malik and John, I think we're doing pretty good up there, and Jack Lindsey. Kendal Briles' offense is not that hard to learn, it's just fast."

Jefferson showed flashes in the three games he played in 2019 but his field awareness was disappointing at times.

Perhaps it'll be newcomer Malik Hornsby that takes the room by storm, but it sounds like the Houston native is still working to get his bearings straight in Briles' fast-paced offensive scheme.

"Malik’s head’s spinning just a little bit," Briles said. "Knew it would be, and to be honest, we’ve put quite a bit on him, and that’s kind of by design. We wanted to, basically, make him fail. We wanted to put a lot of information on him, that way he's seen it. Then once we bring the information back up, schematically, then at least he's seen it."

Briles has been happy with how the offensive install has been going and says the squad has about 75% in as they head into fall camp on the 17th.

Knowing the offense and the calls is key, but consistency and accuracy will be equally as important for the backup quarterback. The last thing the Hogs need is a backup who's going to throw the ball away like we've seen consistently the past two years.

The quarterbacks seem even up to this point but ramping up the contact and hitting in practice should help the coaching staff separate who can handle the pressure and who can't.

"Ball protection is going to be No. 1," Briles said. "That’s going to be the biggest thing we have to make sure we’re preaching as coaches and our players are going to have to police it themselves. Right now you can run freely and know nothing’s going to happen to you. That changes."

Fall camp starts Monday afternoon–Razorback media will not be in attendance for practice one.