Hicks and Starkel, Starkel and Hicks

First, I played every major sport in high school and college (NAIA level) except football. So, I’m not experienced as a player or coach, but am a fan and somewhat of a student of the game.

My question is, after watching Hicks (6 quarters) and Starkel (2 quarters and 5 minutes) playing in this system, how could CCM and our OC choose Hicks to be our starter? Hicks is in his 4th year in CCM’s “system”, while Starkel has 6 weeks playing in it. Yet, to my untrained eye, the offense was sharper, more up-tempo, and moved the ball better under Starkel. The offense actually looked like an “offensive system” under Starkel. Once again, I’m novice when it comes to football, but for me, with Hicks running it, my eye saw slow sluggish offensive movement without tempo.

Even I can see a world of difference with the way the football comes off the arm of Hicks vs Starkel. There’s really no comparison. Before we got to see each in action, I believed what I read, that with Hicks’ experience he needed to start. Now, after seeing the difference, I question (why?), with the extreme talent difference. Shouldn’t our coaches have seen this if I and so many other fans seemingly have seen it?

If Starkel had started yesterday, It probably wouldn’t have made a difference in the outcome of the OM game, but it just might have. If he’d started both games, it really might have made a difference.

I’ve been Team Starkel since Day 1.

I kind of understand why Hicks got the first start - here for spring, their guy at SMU, yada, yada, yada - but in the small amount of practice we have seen and the people I trust who are inside practice - Starkel is the dude.

I will be shocked if Starkel is not named the started for the next…SHOCKED! CCM gave Hicks his opportunities and not it is Starkel’s turn and with the next 2 games on schedule a perfect opportunity to get into a rhythm with the offense before we play the Aggies.

I suspect Morris decided he could not do a bait and switch deal with Hicks right out of the chute. He’s probably trying to preserve credibility for recruiting reasons. I bet he told Hicks a few things to lure him to Fayetteville and tried to put his best face on to give Hicks a chance to keep the job. I think Morris is a good guy and honest.

But Hicks cannot play at this level. He could barely play at SMU. I know he has decent stats there, but they are hollow and he had the great benefit of Sutton and Quinn as receivers. Sonny Dykes sized up Hicks pretty quickly. Hicks had some horrendous games at SMU. Gotta move on from him.

Frankly, if we didn’t have Starkel, I might be in favor of playing KJ. Training under fire. At least he could make something happen with his running. I do, however, I understand not wanting to break his confidence early. Especially with this crappy offensive line.

I agree completely. CCM had to give Hicks enough rope to hang himself, and in sacrificing two games Hicks proved he was unable to lead our team in the SEC. So, Hicks, as valuable as he was/is in the training of our other QBs in CMM’s system, now knows he was given a chance, he did not make it, and his greatest contribution forward will be to maintain leadership and ensure he is able to take the reins if something happens to Starkel.

I consider these two games a small blip in CCM’s tenure at Arkansas that meant little for the next five years. We grow going forward with Starkel. We were not growing with Hicks in command.

Hey Fred, do you think Hicks is better than the Allen brothers?

I could not resist…

Hahahahahahahahaha!!! Great question.

I get Hicks starting the first game and I think Morris would have liked to have played Starkel more in that game, but after giving him two drives at the end of the first half that both resulted in turnovers it probably made it a little tougher to do in the 2nd half as the game remained close. And I count the missed FG opportunity as a turnover and you have to put some of the blame on your QB as there was enough time to try a quick shot to the end zone but for sure you have to snap it quick and know you can’t throw a five yard pass over the middle in that situation.

Now I do feel like it was obvious after the first quarter last night that we needed a spark on offense. It’s obvious to all that Starkel has the stronger arm, but I guess I just expected Hicks to be a little more accurate than what he has shown. So while, yes, Hicks may have corrected Burks and got us in the correct formation on the called back TD, I’m not sure he could have made the pass.

The difference in the way the offense moved was night and day once Starkel came in and he has to be the guy moving forward. While he may make a few more mistakes, will likely throw a few more picks, and not know the offense nearly as well, the upside is far greater and the explosive plays more likely due to his ability to at least stretch the field and keep the defense honest. I’m anxious to see what he can do with first team reps all week.

I tend to shy away from the “successful coaches suddenly become blind and stupid and do stuff that us legends in our own mind know they shouldn’t do” theory and lean towards “there is probably more to it than we can see in a few hours each Saturday.” I bet they know Starkel has a stronger arm but there was stuff like calling the right check-off, spotting blitzes, spotting the freshman receiver lined up wrong, knows and is more comfortable with more of the offense, etc. that made them think Hicks would be more successful than Starkel. They could have been wrong or Starkel overcame some of those “handicaps” that kept him on the bench so now he can be more successful than Hicks where that was not true earlier in the season.

The offense had a bit of sizzle to it when Starkel was in the game. Tells me THE PLAYERS believe it should be Starkel. What a shame we wasted all those plays on the Wildhog when they could have been generating reps in the base offense so that the young pups (including Starkel) could grow more. Might not have that TD called back on the gaffe by Burks.

Bingo, Tuschawg. The lose last night was painful, but from a program standpoint, not as important as a coach maintaining credibility with recruits & players. It’s now obvious Starkel is the man, but it’s also obvious he has some work to do.

Apparently, only to we novices.

I would have been disappointed if Morris had announced to the media after the game that Starkel had won the starting job, if it was before he had the opportunity to talk to Hicks one on one. The media had to ask the question, but I thought it was answered in the right way. And I will also be somewhat disappointed if he doesn’t say on Monday that Nick is the starter this week, but I don’t read anything into the fact that he didn’t tell the rest of the world first.

Hicks could have gone other places but chose to come here. He’s been a good leader and I’m sure he expects to play as a 5th year senior. We took Starkel after Ben had already transferred in, so it can’t be an easy situation, but while I may question a few other things about Morris, I do believe he will handle this in the right way and with what he feels gives the team the best chance to win.

Ben Hicks has played about as well as Ty Storey last year. That did not work last year, not working this year either. Starkel completes passes, Hick, not so much.

Got to play Starkel. Get Hicks and/or Jones ready. The o line likely allows big hits that knock Starkel out of the game. If Hicks and Jones are unable to move the team, get Jefferson ready. You have to win and your past record does not afford you the luxury of not playing your best now.

pretty obvious to see Starkel will be the guy. Get him the reps and hopefully the confidence that comes with them. We also need more weapons on offense

I really don’t understand the common belief that Jefferson is our best QB and the coaches are either blind or don’t care to let him play. This is the coaches who recruited Deshaun Watson and Kelly Bryant and let both play early. Do you really think they don’t know who is ready to play and who is not? They see them every day in practice and we got fans who have never seen a practice who know better about who should play and who should redshirt? This kind of thinking is crazy and just needs to go away.

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My guess is they think KJ is better because he has not done anything wrong yet.

I have stated and still believe that he has the highest ceiling of the QBs on campus.

I just don’t think he is ready yet although I do expect him to get some sort of package in the four games he can without losing his redshirt.