After a rough 2013 season in which he suffered a separation in his throwing shoulder and endured numerous pain-killing injections just so he could play each week, Brandon Allen is fully healthy again after a much-needed off season.

And it’s amazing what time off can do for a player.

The junior quarterback came into the 2014 looking to forget about what happened in 2013 and he got his first chance to officially move on from it this past Saturday against Auburn. It was a 45-21 loss for the Hogs, but there were some positives from the defeat. One of them being the performance of Arkansas’ quarterback.

Allen finished the game with just 175 passing yards two touchdowns, and one interception, but it was the intangibles mental as well as physical improvements Allen has made since last season that impressed the coaching staff.

“I liked Brandon Allen on Saturday,” head coach Bret Bielema said on Monday. “There were very few teaching moments for Brandon. He was in control, competitive and he had demeanor and an explanation for everything going around him.”

“I think a year ago, sometimes he would give you the answer you wanted to hear, not the answer you needed to hear,” Bielema added. “Brandon Allen’s going to be a very good quarterback, he is a good quarterback already, but I think with where we’re going he’s going to be rewarded with some very good plays.”

The fruits of Allen’s hard work in the offseason were already reward in his first game. Despite the low passing yards, Allen showed great poise in the first half, helping the Hogs come back from a 14-point deficit and executed the play action attack perfectly when the running game was effective. His deep balls were very accurate, especially the one to Keon Hatcher that he dropped in the first quarter.

“I thought he played a good football game,” offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said. “I think you can want some for a kid so bad it hurts, and I wanted Brandon to go out there and perform at a level of football that he felt comfortable with. I feel like we walked off the field and can say that he did perform better than he had in the past. He was able to see the fronts and change things now, so we’re happy he’s able to do that.”

He may not blow you away with his speed, size or strength, but Allen does the little things well. It has been Allen’s mental and physical progression in the offseason showing up in his play on the field.

And the results say he’s clearly got all the tools to be an effective and serviceable SEC quarterback.