She doesn’t remember what triggered it, but all of a sudden, the two brothers with very different personalities started fighting on a Christmas Day.
Picture frames got knocked off the walls, and it took Steve Dick — their father — stepping in the middle to break it up. Casey and Nathan, who are separated by only two years, quickly got over the dispute.
“I think they’re extremely close. They grew up only having one skirmish in their whole life,” their mother said. “They did compete against each other, but never fought against each other. And there’s a difference there.”
As awkward as it might be for the entire family, Casey and Nathan Dick are again competing against one another — this time to see which brother will be Arkansas’ starting quarterback for Saturday’s game at Mississippi State.
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino announced Monday that senior Casey Dick must beat out redshirt freshman Nathan Dick in practice this week to remain the team’s starter.
It has made for a unique situation and created a sibling rivalry that’s being closely watched by coaches at both Arkansas and Mississippi State, as well by the media.
Coincidentally, as soon as Nathan Dick arrived on Arkansas’ campus as freshman last fall, he started joking that he’d someday take his older brother’s starting job from him.
“We’ve had competition ever since we grew up together. We had it from day one,” said Casey Dick, who’s two inches shorter and two pounds lighter than Nathan despite being the older of them.
“We’ll just have to see where it goes, see what coach (Petrino) decides to put us in the best situation.”
Nathan Dick continued to take snaps with the first-team offense on Wednesday, leading to more speculation that Casey’s streak of 28 consecutive starts could come to an end Saturday in Starkville.
At the same time, Casey Dick is getting over a concussion suffered on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the final minutes of a 34-21 loss at South Carolina on Nov. 8.
The injury forced the senior to miss all of last week’s practices and opened the door for his younger brother to take over as Arkansas’ starting quarterback.
“(Our parents) just told us both to go out there and do what we can do,” Nathan Dick said. “And whatever happens, they’re going to support us whatever way it goes. Just go out there and play football.”
Despite their passing resemblance, there are some noticable differences between the two brothers.
While Casey Dick is quieter and more reserved, Nathan can be outspoken at times and tends to speak his mind more than his older brother. But their mother said one son isn’t more competitive than the other.
Growing up in Allen, Texas, the two brothers played a game they called “Burn Out.” They’d stand 15 yards apart and throw a football as hard as possible back and forth. Whichever one dropped the ball first was the loser.
Casey and Nathan Dick were also teammates on the Allen High football team, but because of their age difference they never competed against each other for a starting job. At least until now.
“That pushes you no matter who’s out there,” Casey Dick said of the quarterback competition. “No matter if it’s your brother out there backing you up or another teammate.”
Still, the brothers remain close.
They hang out together, study game film together, and when Nathan Dick moved to Fayetteville last year, Casey showed him around, introduced him to friends and helped him adjust to college life.
Over the past few days, their parents have tried to help them handle the unique sitation.
“We told them that life throws you curves, and sometimes when a coach makes a decision, you can’t change the coach’s mind,” Mary Ellen Dick said.
“And you sometimes have to go ahead and play the role out as best as you can and realize that — as we told Nathan — if it wasn’t Nathan going out (to compete against Casey), it’d probably be another quarterback.”
Tale of the Tape
Casey Dick Nathan Dick
Age 22 20
Height 6-foot-2 6-foot-4
Weight 215 pounds 217 pounds
Class Senior Redshirt freshman
Career completions 455 4
Career yards 5,659 38
Career starts 32 0
Personality Reserved Outspoken
Major Political science Kinesiology