After an 0-3 SEC start, Razorbacks coach Houston Nutt has announced he is putting starter Robert Johnson’s job up for grabs. Johnson, a sophomore, is 77-for-137 passing this year with five touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has rushed for 59 yards.
The most logical choice to replace Johnson seems to be redshirt freshman Alex Mortensen, who is the son of ESPN pro football analyst Chris Mortensen and is 5-for-16 with two interceptions and one touchdown in a backup role. He is the only other Arkansas quarterback to see action in a game this year, but Nutt isn’t limiting the competition to just two players, he said Monday.
Freshman Cole Barthel, who was drafted in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Atlanta Braves in 2001, also got work in Sunday’s practice, Nutt said.
“I haven’t really resolved anything yet,” Nutt said. “We’re trying to look real hard at what (the Bulldogs) are doing on defense and plan and evaluate what is best for our team at this time. I think each quarterback has some strengths. We’re just trying to keep everything open and be more consistent. (Johnson) has had days where he’s thrown the ball very well, and there have been days when he hasn’t thrown it very well.”
Whoever Nutt decides to start, it’s possible no one outside his program will know until the game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I don’t know if I really want to let Georgia know,” he said. “We need every advantage we can have. That’s one of the things that came up today, let’s don’t get in a hurry and let’s not show our hand right now.”
Arkansas also might rotate quarterbacks or go to a more option-oriented attack this weekend, Nutt said. The Razorbacks lead the SEC in rushing offense (263.3 ypg) but are last in passing (135.8).