When Barry Switzer had his wishbone running “track meets” on folks in the 1980’s, he had an embarrassment of talent, especially at the quarterback position.
Quinn Grovey grew up in Duncan, Okla., and was the All-State quarterback after leading his team to a pair of state championships in 1986 and was heavily recruited throughout the southwest.
But he didn’t go to Oklahoma.
Barry Switzer pulled Grovey into a huddle with Jamelle Holieway, Charles Thompson and Eric Mitchell (from Pine Bluff). He basically told Quinn he could battle those guys for three years over playing time or go to Arkansas and play immediately.
Razorback fans thanked Switzer. Well, at the time it was the least he could do after signing Mitchell, Keith Jackson out of Little Rock Parkview and Mark Hutson out of Fort Smith in that period of time in the 1980’s.
Greg Thomas was the starter in 1987, but battled a separated shoulder for much of the season and Grovey filled in, getting folks’ attention.
In 1988, the team became Grovey’s and he proceeded to lead the Hogs to a 20-4 mark over those two seasons, back-to-back SWC titles and Cotton Bowls.
No one struggled more than Grovey when Ken Hatfield left as coach after the 1989 season for Clemson and Jack Crowe took over as head coach.
During Hatfield’s time, Grovey had the advantage of finding receivers wide open against defenses weakened by trying to keep up with the triple option. He had an offense that didn’t turn the ball over, got good field position most of the time and used a scramble blocking scheme with quick linemen keeping defenders more worried about their knees than where the ball was at times.
Grovey was also the quarterback in one of the wildest games in Razorback history in Little Rock in 1989. Houston had Andre Ware, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy, but the Hogs had Grovey.
Ware passed for 412 yards, hitting 35-of-47 passes. Grovey had “just” 256 yards passing but the Arkansas offense added another 391 yards on the ground. Grovey out-dueled Ware in getting a 45-39 win, putting the Hogs in the Cotton Bowl for the second straight year.
Grovey briefly played in the Canadian league after his Arkansas career, but returned to the state, living in Northwest Arkansas. He is in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor and is the sideline reporter for the IMG Razorback Radio Network.