'Break' Over For Brandon Mitchell As Razorbacks Begin Spring Football

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012 10:16 am  

Quarterback Brandon Mitchell is expected back with the football team when spring practice begins on Wednesday. Mitchell played 10 games with the basketball team. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Pulling double duty left quarterback Brandon Mitchell pressed for time during basketball season. Mitchell juggled responsibilities in both sports and course work as well as he could.

Mitchell didn’t participate, but made it a point to show up and support his football teammates when possible during early morning quickness and conditioning drills. There were times Mitchell didn’t make it out to watch.

But Coach Bobby Petrino says Mitchell made it a point to show up for one particular workout during the offseason. Mitchell was definitely on hand after scoring a SportsCenter Top 10 play with his dunk against Ole Miss.

"Certainly he was there after he had the big dunk,” Petrino joked. “We kind of gave him a bad time about that. ‘You haven’t been here for a while, now you get on TV and you show up just so everyone can see you.’

“I do think that’s why he came that morning.”

Mitchell was able to contribute more than the occasional spectacular dunk. He averaged 3.5 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench in 10 appearances. Mitchell played about 11.6 minutes per game, providing depth and leadership to a team that had few players and little experience.

Arkansas did not make the postseason in basketball, so Mitchell is now expected to turn his attention back to football full-time. Petrino joked Mitchell had been on break from football long enough.

Mitchell ended 2011 as the top backup to Tyler Wilson, throwing for 271 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Mitchell also averaged 3.9 yards on 15 carries with a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Missing some of the offseason work will have Mitchell behind a bit in his development, Petrino said. But Petrino, himself a two-sport athlete in college, expects Mitchell to have a good spring.

Petrino anticipates Mitchell will get a push from freshman Brandon Allen for the No. 2 quarterback spot when spring practice begins Wednesday. Allen, who redshirted out of Fayetteville High in 2011, impressed coaches during bowl practices and Petrino is hopeful that progress will carry over into the 15 spring workouts.

“I’m excited for the spring,” Petrino said. “[Allen] got a lot of reps in bowl practices. He’s got a really, really quick release. He’s a good athlete. He’s very intelligent, so he knows the game of football and learns quickly.”

Both Mitchell and Allen are working to back up Wilson, who earned all-SEC honors last season. Arkansas won 11 games with Wilson throwing for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns with six interceptions.



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