FAYETTEVILLE - Media on Wednesday heard Arkansas offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Dan Enos’ thoughts that Razorbacks quarterback Austin Allen has been thinking too much his first two games.
What does Allen think?
Arkansas’ fifth-year senior in his second season starting after leading the SEC in passing for 2016, only completed 9 of 23 for 138 yards as the Razorbacks fell, 28-7 last Saturday to TCU at Reynolds Razorbacks, met with media after Thursday’s bye week practice.
The Razorbacks, 1-1, rolling, 49-7 by lower division Florida A&M in their Aug. 31 season-opener in Little Rock, don’t play again until their 11 a.m., ESPN televised Sept. 23 opener against the Texas A&M Aggies at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“ I'm just putting too much pressure on myself where I want to be perfect on every play,” Allen said Thursday. “No one's perfect. No one's going to grade out at 100 percent. I'm not going to hit the big play every single time. I've got to let things come to me, get the ball out of my hands.”
The best things don’t always come to those who wait, Allen and Enos concur.
“Instead of trying to be perfect on every play just throw the ball,” Allen said. “I noticed that watching film on Sunday. I'm looking for things to get open instead of throwing it open, where last year I was just letting it rip. I think this week I've gone out to practice where I just throw the ball. I think that's kind of helped me.”
Can you just throw it even if you see no separation in the receivers and those covering them?
“ Well there's the trust factor,” Allen said. “I’ve got to trust in them that they're going to get open. They know that and I know that. We'll get all that figured out. Everyone's getting healthy and getting better. I think our pass game is going to come along.”
Allen’s by far best returning receiver from last year, senior Jared Cornelius, 32 catches last season but set way back first by a hamstring shelving from spring practices and then a back injury shelving him the bulk of the August preseason practices, is catching up this bye week, Allen said.
“Jared's looking great,” Allen said. “He's looked the best he's ever looked these past two days since the back injury. He's caught everything this week and has run great routes. I just have all the trust in the world in him”
Big third-year sophomore tight end Cheyenne O’Grady, four passes thrown to him and four passes caught for 44 yards including a touchdown against Florida A&M, could be a diversifying factor on the goal-line.
“You know there's definitely an emphasis to get him the ball,” Allen said. “He's a special tight end. Such a big body, 6-5, 250. He can run and catch. As things get going, as the offense gets in a groove, he's going to be a big contributor and really a big part of the offense.”
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema has used the bye week to toughen his offense and defense by pitting the first units against each other rather than the usual game-week emphasis of scout teams impersonating the opposition offense and defense against the first and second units.
“It's good to get speed on speed instead of going with the scouts all the time,” Arkansas junior linebacker Dre Greenlaw, also a Fayetteville High grad, said. “You want to go against people that know a little bit more about what's going on.”
“It’s real looks,” O’Grady said. “Sometimes scout team doesn’t go hard or 100 percent. So when we’re going ones vs. ones it gives us that game like feel. So that helps us tremendously.”