It’s been an interesting month and a half for Jeff Scott.
He was a guy you looked at immediately and thought might benefit from the Hugh Freeze offense, a small guy with big quickness and home-run potential. He was the leading rusher on a bad team last season.
Initially, Randall Mackey’s move to running back looked like a good decision for depth more than anything else. Then as Mackey excelled in camp while Scott sat out with a hit to the head and later with lingering back pain, it seemed Mackey might surpass Scott’s production at the position.
It looked that way past Week 1. Mackey was pedestrian against Central Arkansas — He actually played the game while suffering from illness — but Scott wasn’t available, the back pain still a problem.
When Scott was available he wasn’t really available. He debuted in Week 2 against UTEP but had to sit out the first quarter.
“He had to serve a little suspension for us, because he missed a class. He had to sit out the first quarter, and he had a good three quarters for us after that,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said following Scott’s 111-yard performance — on just 12 carries — against the Miners.
Scott followed that game with nearly a 100 yards against the Texas team that has no hyphen, rushing for 95 yards on eight carries, one of them a 48-yard touchdown run against the Longhorns. He broke initial contact on the long TD run, something that isn’t Scott’s strength.
All this comes while Mackey has been OK but not fantastic. Mackey is the third-leading rusher, his 138 yards on 32 attempts coming in currently behind quarterback Bo Wallace, who has 143 yards on 36 carries.
This week’s SEC release doesn’t rank running backs with fewer than three games. If it did, Scott would be the league’s No. 3 rusher with 103 yards a game. He’s averaging 10.3 yards per carry. He has not been made available to the media during the regular season.
“In our offense, going at the pace we go sometimes, gives him an advantage to sometimes get lost in the quickness of the play. He can kind of hide in there behind and wait for a crease to open, and he’s pretty explosive once that crease does open. It’s a combination of his talent and the scheme, I think. He’s certainly off to a good start,” Freeze said.