Focusing on turnovers

Turnovers will no doubt be a topic for Ole Miss football players in meetings today before they get back on the practice field this afternoon.

Hugh Freeze didn’t spend a lot of time on the topic in interviews after the scrimmage. I wasn’t there and don’t have a total numbers, but it appears there were at least one interception by Bo Wallace – one Freeze took responsibility for with play-calling – and three fumbles.

The Rebels made a slight improvement in turnover margin in Year 2 under Freeze. They were minus-0.8 in margin for 2012. That ranked ninth in the SEC and tied for 63rd in the NCAA.

Last year they were plus-0.1, seventh in the SEC and 56th in the nation.

Missouri led the SEC at plus-1.1. Houston led the nation at plus-1.9.

Based on the tempo offense that Freeze likes to play, nothing will kill the Rebels’ defense more than a quick turnover by the offense.

The defense can help the cause with more take-aways. They had 22 last year which put them sixth in the SEC and 52nd nationally.

More pressure on the quarterback will lead to more turnovers by both interception and fumble. This is where the Rebels were severely lacking a year ago. A healthy CJ Johnson should help. I’m interested to see how Fadol Brown and Marquise Haynes fit into the equation at end and if Robert Nkemdiche can get push consistently from tackle.

Bo Wallace made very good progress in reducing his interception numbers in Year 2. The problem for Wallace is that he will be remembered and judged by his Mississippi State performance.

It’s not a good thing to hear that had two interceptions in Saturday’s scrimmage, regardless of who claims responsibility.

He had one interception in the first spring scrimmage. It was a sideline route that the receiver tipped up, and the defender grabbed. It still counts.

Wallace had 17 as a sophomore and first-year starter. He had only six interceptions through 11 regular season games as a junior, but he threw three picks and fumbled into the end zone in overtime against MSU.

Wallace has a gunslinger mentality, a risk-taker that the Rebels really needed in 2012 but needed less last year.

He’s had health concerns in each of his first two seasons. He took the hit on the shoulder early in 2012 at Tulane, and it bothered him the rest of the year, more at the latter stages. The subsequent surgery kept him out of the necessary conditioning work leading to 2013. That showed up at the end of the season.

The fact that Wallace will soon see a specialist indicates that while the shoulder may be healed in the minds of the Ole Miss people, they think it can be better or he can be better with it.

It’s a good thing to cross all T’s and dot the I’s before Wallace’s last year.

I don’t think you’ll see a lot of fumbles by backs. The Rebels have been pretty good in that area, and there are enough quality backs to pull one and insert another if a message needs to be sent. Nothing speaks to players like playing time.

Improving the turnovers will be mostly about Wallace making good decisions, accurate passes and getting back to the form he showed for much of 2013.



Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • bob

    There were two interceptions in the scrimmage. One was by Bo, which Freeze and Werner took credit for. The other was by Kincade.

    • Parrish Alford

      Thanks Bob. I got the impression two were by Bo.

  • Grammar Police

    Man Parrish you have GOT to start proofreading your articles. Northeast Louisiana must have never taught you that.

  • karl Hungus

    Hey Parish, don’t sweat it, man! Most …I say most of yer readers are intelligent enough to figure it out. Some people get knit pickie,when aunt Flo visits…you docs great job!!!

  • Colonel_Panic

    Although he has been and will be, Wallace’s legacy after next season should not be determined by an Egg Bowl performance. If he can continue to improve and limit his turnovers, he will be remembered as the QB that helped OM move from 2 and 3 win seasons to consistent bowl eligibility. It’s a process y’all.The QB isn’t the only player on the field.

    • karl Hungus

      The “Boumble” in the Egg Bowl really wasn’t the storyline. The fact that State was able to stay in the game with a third string, true freshman, was the storyline. Bo will only be remembered as a QB that lost 2 of 3 Egg Bowls.

      • Seth Mohundro

        Obviously you have never been an athlete or else you would know that a freshmen can either play really well by controlling the fear inside them or they can crack under the pressure by letting the fear overcome them. Big deal. You say Ole Miss fans live in the past and you sit here and bring the past up. Quarterback is the hardest position to play in football because every little mistake is knit picked by people like you. No disrespect but go out on the field and play as an SEC quarterback and then you can talk.

  • Jb

    i don’t see Ole Miss any better this coming season as over last season,about the same record,

  • karl Hungus

    With a schedule that includes a very down Boise St. ( great job of pushing that game back, until they’re no good.) Vandy is down and Presbyterian, well they’re Presbyterian. A trip to Shreveport with 6 win season is highly likely.

    • Seth Mohundro

      They don’t make schedules out one year in advance. They make them out a few years in advance so people like you can complain that we don’t play anybody when in fact we play good opponents. Stop judging.

  • UMBBFan

    The total number if turnovers that we have this year will be irrelevant. The number of games we lose because of turnovers by Bo will be relevant for both Ole Miss and Bo. If he starts “gunslinging” interceptions or fumbling, the boo birds may come out quick. With two talented redshirt freshman behind him, HF will have nothing to lose by changing quarterbacks if Bo is not producing wins. Bo did improve from year one to year two and I expect he will improve again this year. That is what good coaching does, and Ole Miss has a great staff right now.

    • karl Hungus

      Bo will have at least 10 picks. I’ve never heard of coaches throwing picks, or taking blame for them. I guess Freeze took the blame for Bo getting the ball stripped in OT of the Egg Bowl. Heard Freeze is attending Mullen’s coaches clinic to learn how to coach better.

      • Seth Mohundro

        You mean how to be dishonest with fans. He wouldn’t do that. Sorry.

  • karl Hungus

    The Boise St. game was originally scheduled for 2012, but Ole Miss rescheduled it for 2014 and played Idaho or some lackluster team.

    • Lee814

      Wrong on several fronts. It was scheduled for 2011, not 2012. OM did not push it back. It was actually moved at the request of Boise State so they could play Georgia in the Kickoff classic that year. OM actually played BYU, hardly an Idaho. Get your facts straight before you spew out your rhetoric, Karl, CID, Bulldawg, or whoever you are this month.

  • karl Hungus

    The Sharkfins should at least schedule a BSC team errr. a BSC team that’s playing good, instead of pushing back the team, until they real…and Texas wasn’t any good last season. Texas was good the year before and dropped 63 on you. It’s pathetic!! Bragging about this ” glorious” history and didn’t play any of Bear Bryant’s teams for 11 years!!! Just pathetic.

    • Seth Mohundro

      Did you even bother to look at how they did last year after we whipped them? They won something like 10 straight and played for their conference championship and had their streak ended. You just think they were bad because we beat whipped up on them and didn’t want to look at what was really happening. Your “facts” are pathetic.

  • karl Hungus

    Sharkfins refuse to speak the truth…just make up stories to suit yourselves. What a joke! Just like those fake Championship banners…it’s incredulous. How can y’all keep living these lies?

    • Seth Mohundro

      Oh ok third grade cheerleader. Go ahead and make stuff up against my school.

  • karl Hungus

    Texas was a horrible team in complete disarray when Sharkfins played them. Brown was fighting to keep his job and their starting QB was out…y’all need to see the truth…man, how pathetic can you get?

  • karl Hungus

    You live in a world of unicorns, rainbows and magic snoopy dust. The only tradition your known for is getting drunk and passing out in the GRAVE..or whatever those trees are called.

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