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Taylen Green Will Need to Grow Quickly in Daunting SEC

Updated: Jun 23

Taylen Green Arkansas
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State transfer quarterback Taylen Green is set to lead the Arkansas Razorbacks into battle this fall, but to do so effectively, he'll have to be a fast learner and grow up quickly. After all, playing in the Southeastern Conference is one of the toughest things to do in all of sports, especially for a player used to facing Mountain West Conference defenses every week.

Fans could debate for hours whether or not the SEC truly is the best conference in collegiate football. Still, one thing is clear: for an area of the country that is more football-crazed than any other, players coming in through the transfer portal must adapt quickly and learn that playing in the SEC is simply different from playing anywhere else.

Green showed flashes of brilliance with Boise State in 2023, even earning Most Valuable Player honors in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game against UNLV and former Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom.

Transition to SEC

However, when you come to a program like Arkansas, putting up gaudy numbers in just one or two games isn't enough. At a school yearning for a taste of success in the SEC—whether it be fleeting or sustained—stellar quarterback play on a consistent basis is a necessary ingredient for success.

Green certainly will not be the only transfer asked to step up in Fayetville, but as the face of the team, he'll be the player every fan is constantly watching. The most important thing for Green, however, isn't padding stats, but learning quickly in an extremely unforgiving conference.

Green won't be totally thrown to the wolves when Arkansas opens SEC play on Sept. 21 at Auburn, but an SEC opener on the road is never easy regardless of where it falls on the schedule. In Green's rather fortunate case, Arkansas will have three games—University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Oklahoma State and UAB—to quickly figure out where the puzzle pieces fit in the offensive scheme of first-year offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino.

Arkansas' matchup with Oklahoma State in Week 2 will be Green's first chance to prove himself on a national stage, but the physicality of one game against a Big 12 Conference foe cannot come close to comparing with the grind of seven consecutive SEC bouts, including contests against the likes of LSU, Texas A&M and Texas.

Taylen Green Arkansas
Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Lessons for Taylen Green to Learn

Green might be advised to study the story of former Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson, who will play his final season of college football at UCF this fall. While Jefferson did not transfer to Arkansas, he was suddenly thrust into the limelight during Arkansas' matchup with Missouri in 2020, when starting quarterback Feleipe Franks suffered a rib injury in practice. While Arkansas heartbreakingly lost to their border rival, it was no fault of Jefferson, who threw for 274 yards and 3 touchdowns in what was a precursor to a legendary career.

Although Green likely won't reach the legendary status of Jefferson during his one-year stint in Fayetteville, following in the footsteps of Jefferson, in terms of adaptability, will be key in seeing how far the Razorbacks go in 2024. In 2021, Jefferson's first full season as the starting quarterback, Arkansas went 9-4, and Jefferson showed off his adaptability and acumen by leading the team to nail-biting victories over LSU and Mississippi State. Forced to learn on the fly in tight games, Jefferson proved that he had put in the work necessary to play at a high level in the toughest conference in the country.

The SEC is not a conference in which opposing teams give warm welcomes when the team bus rolls into town. It's not a conference where fresh faces usually roll in and immediately start making an impact.

Green has proven to be a capable starter in college football, but to truly cement his name as a potential pro prospect, he'll have to learn quickly and adapt to the rough-and-tumble world of SEC football.

Welcome to the big time, kid.


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