Alabama coach Nick Saban impressed with Arkansas’ big backup QB, Cole Kelley

Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Cole Kelley

Arkansas has not announced who will start at quarterback Saturday at Alabama.

Austin Allen, a senior, is recovering from a right shoulder injury that forced him to be removed from a loss at South Carolina last Saturday. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Cole Kelley for the final quarter of the game.

Kelley, who is 6-foot-7 and 268 pounds, has impressed many as the featured attraction in the “Steamboat” package this season. Alabama coach Nick Saban is among those who have come away impressed after watching Kelley play.

“When I first started watching the film, I thought [Kelley] was a wildcat quarterback that was a tight end,” Saban said. “But as he’s played more, he has a good arm. He can throw the ball effectively, so the guy’s a pretty good player.”

Kelley has completed 11 of 18 pass attempts this season. He’s thrown for 186 yards with 3 touchdowns and an interception. He also has 9 carries for 42 yards.

The native of Lafayette, La., is gaining supporters among the Razorbacks fan base at a rapid pace — particularly with those who want to see some hope for the future after a 2-3 start (0-2 SEC) to the season.

Allen’s status remains uncertain. He’s been a limited participant in practice this week. Saban expressed admiration for Allen as well.

“Allen is a great passer,” Saban said. “Very athletic, quick, can make all the throws.”

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema was optimistic that Allen would start following practice Wednesday.

“Obviously, as a quarterback, the biggest thing you have to do is function and throw the football,” Bielema said. “But he’s not quite there yet. I think a lot depends on how well he recovers from tonight and we’ll look at that tomorrow.”

Arkansas and Alabama will meet at 6:15 p.m. CT Saturday at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The game will be broadcast on ESPN. The Crimson Tide have won the last 10 games in the series, with one of those victories vacated.

The post Alabama coach Nick Saban impressed with Arkansas’ big backup QB, Cole Kelley appeared first on SEC Country.

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