THE BIG BREAK:
He got his break when Chad Morris arrived and the last of the 25 Allen brothers left. In 2018, Storey started 9 games out of the 10 he played in and threw for a respectable 1,584 yards, with only 11 TDs against 10 INTs. Some of those interceptions came at critical times, specifically against Texas A&M when the Hogs had a shot to win in the 4th quarter.
At the time, those seemed like historically bad stats for a modern Hogs quarterback. Little did fans know the depths to which Storey’s successors Ben Hicks and Nick Starkel would fall.
At the end of the season, with KJ Jefferson on his way, Storey saw the writing on the wall and transferred out. He landed at Western Kentucky.
Storey got a second big break at Western Kentucky when injuries to the quarterback ahead of him gave him the starting job.
Storey’s biggest moment of 2019 came in Fayetteville, a game he tried to play down but obviously meant a lot to him.
Despite Razorback Rakeem Boyd’s two touchdowns and 185 yards on an inexplicably low 9 carries, Storey demolished his former coach, teammates and fans with an absolutely brilliant performance. He led the Hilltoppers to a 45 – 19 victory by controlling the ball for 36:57, throwing for 213 yards and a TD. Most importantly, he moved the chains on several critical 3rd and 4th down conversions.
Chad Morris’ viability as head Hogwas already on life support after the previous week’s stinker against Mississippi State, but this blowout loss left no doubt: Chad had to go. The next day, Hunter Yurachek summarily dismissed Morris, allowing him to get in the left lane and hammer back down to Dallas, leaving his realtor to pick up the pieces and sell his $3.8 million house.
MISSION OF VENGEANCE?
Storey would never publicly admit he returned to Arkansas on a mission of vengeance, but if you read between the lines it certainly appears he did.
“You couldn’t write it any better. It was a heck of a story.,” Western Kentucky head coach Tyson Helton said afterward.. “He was locked in from the get-go.”
“I didn’t see anything different from just his normal approach, but once the game got started, you could tell. His eyes kind of narrowed a little bit and he had that look in his eye like ‘Let’s go get it.’”
Who would blame Storey if he did come back here to settle some scores?
After all, compared to the QB nightmare that 2019 proved to be, Storey’s 2018 wasn’t that bad. He threw for nearly 1,600 yards while either running for his life, or picking himself up off the turf after getting his head knocked off.
To his credit, Storey was gracious in victory. He threw no salt into the wounds he inflicted.
The Western Kentucky game was a critical game for Morris and Morris knew it. He had discussed it with Yurachek. It was a do or die situation for Morris.
Storey played a bigger role in ending the Morris Era that any other single student-athlete, and so far it looks like that’s a good thing. With Sam Pittman, Barry Odom and Kendal Briles on board, the Hog coaching staff now has decades of combined SEC coaching experience. I believe the program is on the mend.
Now all that’s left is to see the result on the field.
When those first SEC wins start rolling in, Razorback fans should write Storey a thank you note for relieving us of a coach who delivered the worst two years of football in Arkansas Razorback history.
For the second part of this three-part series, click here:
The below column, in advance of Storey’s big game, was published on Nov. 9, 2019:
I begin this post in Gillett, Arkansas, waiting in the parking lot of the defunct “Rice Paddy Motel” (or something like that), which appears to have been boarded up for a number of years. How original to name something around Stuttgart, or Dewitt, something related to rice….? Down here to fly my drone over the duck woods for some buddies.
Pretty sure I was the only guy driving through southeast Arkansas in a Ford-F150, drone in tow, while listening to Led Zeppelin. Just sayin’.
BUT DUCK SEASON’S A COUPLE OF WEEKS OFF. BACK TO FOOTBALL:
Predictably, Ty Storey is the story. The former Hog QB is now at Western Kentucky and will make his return to Razorback Stadium this Saturday.
—Standout QB and basketball player from Charleston, AR.
—A lot of people were hoping he would be THE MAN. He wasn’t.
—Ben Hicks (and later Nick Starkel) portal in, Ty Storey portals out.
—Got the starting job due to injured starter at WKU, he’s completed roughly 70% of his passes for 1,477 yards, 7 TDs (average of one per game). Sounds like the typical, guy who leaves the Hogs and turns into a superstar, right?
—Nope, 5 INTs (average of almost one per game).
—Has racked up 2 losses in the past 2 weeks.
My read on Storey is that he’s a good guy and a gritty competitor, but just not SEC caliber. However, I’m not sure I can really make that assessment. because most of the time at Arkansas he was either running for his life — or picking himself up off the turf.
Listen to Ty Storey discuss playing against old teammates at 1:29 below:
OHHHHH THE IRONY:
The same week that we play WKU, the two guys who threatened Storey’s playing time at Arkansas got bumped off the 2-deep roster in favor of a redshirt freshman and a true freshman.
What I don’t get is that John Stephen Jones is listed as #1 while KJ Jefferson is #2.
This is troubling. Clearly, Hicks and Starkel were bumped to get the freshmen some good experience for the future. But, let’s get this straight. KJ is the future and the future is now…….
John Stephen Jones grew up with Morris and his son. Well, I grew up with JSJ’s parents and his uncle, and frequently play golf with another uncle, cousin (I’m not sure how all that really works), but we’re talking about SEC football. JSJ may know the playbook better, but KJ can make more things happen between the ditches.
KJ will get playing time. That’s clear. But, Morris has a history of not jerking QBs out when they’re playing terrible.
—Exhibit A: Ben Hicks not pulled until 2:00 to go in the first half despite not getting it done against Mississippi State.
—Exhibit B: Starkel Allowed to play long enough against San Jose State to throw five (count ‘em, five) interceptions, which is effectively why we paid $1.5 million for a loss. A win for $1.5 million seems like a better investment to me……
I’m not saying that KJ’s the second coming, but let’s make no mistake, he IS the future of the program and shouldn’t be the second QB. He could play every down for the rest of the season and not lose his redshirt. Give him the live reps. Please.
Let’s be clear: JSJ went 4 for 9 for 25 yards but, he did throw a very nice TD pass. Doesn’t make up for 25 yards on 9 attempts.
Jefferson took the team 75 yards in 4 plays with a 32 yard completion (in his first series ever as a Hog) and then took the ball into the end zone himself for the TD. Keep in mind MSU had six starters still in the game. These are the facts, and they are not in dispute.
KJ was more efficient. Period. Once again. Not an opinion. These are the facts, and they are not in dispute. Morris was a math major. Use it.
My only comment is that he cost himself millions by getting kicked off his football team for the last 4 games of a college career where he became the leading touchdown receiver as a tight end.
WITH ALL DUE RESPECT:
—John Chavis: “That’s 18 year olds vs. 22 year olds. That makes a difference. That’s all I’m going to say because I’m not an excuse maker… I’ve never been in front of anybody and made an excuse, and I’m not going to today.”
With all due respect, Chief, that really, really, really sounded like an excuse. You can’t get specific on a topic that might explain why our defense is terrible and then deny that you’re an excuse maker.
He could’ve saved a lot of breath by simply saying, “The buck stops somewhere over there…..”
HERE’S THE KICKER:
If Ty Storey goes back to Razorback Stadium and gets a win, the Hog fan base will be calling for Chad’s head on a silver platter. And, given Arkansas has the 105th best defense in the country (out of 130), it’s possible.
Anything’s possible with this team and coaching staff that won’t get the hook out to jerk a quarterback until he throws 5 interceptions, or can’t get the ball to Rakeem Boyd more than 11 times despite the fact that he averaged over 10 yards per carry to finish with 114 yards.
There are two schools of thought in the coaching world.
1). You coach the way you coach, regardless of whether the players you have fit the coaching style.
2). You adjust your style to fit the players you have so that you can win which, ultimately, is what you’re hired to do. And, I might add, is what keeps you around for a while.
OKAY WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
It means that my keyboard won’t sync up with my ADG iPAD, dammit.
No, I’m sorry, it doesn’t mean that at all — It means the last thing we need to do is fire Chad Morris after just two years. He needs to get his own players and we’ve seen that all of his talent is in the freshman class, for the most part.
This is like when Nolan Richardson got to Fayetteville and tried to run his offense with Eric Poerschke and Mike Young. No bueno!!!!! But he got his players and 9-10 years later we won a national championship that we still brag about. We also lost in the finals the next year against UCLA, which is less talked about. Remember? Didn’t think so. We were so used to winning all the time.
Firing Morris after two years would be the worst decision Arkansas could make. Ready for five years of 2-10 seasons? “Hey, Chad, you’re a hero in Texas high school football and a great guy, so head west to the Lone Star State from whence you came, but just don’t get in our way when we try to recruit Texas players. It’s in your contract (or something like that).”
The bottom lines is everyone has their price. We would find someone else who is willing to get fired in less than four years, and get a nice buyout for failing to coach up a team that has very little experienced talent.
-contributor Tommy Foltz
Read more about the rocky beginning to Ty Storey’s WKU career, including a loss to UCA , here: