By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Barry Brunetti doesn’t know what his future holds, he just knows where it will be.
The backup quarterback at Ole Miss will be a senior next year, and Brunetti has no plans to transfer to become a one-year starter elsewhere.
Friends who watched him lead Memphis University School to back-to-back state championships have inquired of that possibility.
“One thing in my mind I want to get cleared out. I’m not looking to leave for anywhere. I love Ole Miss. I like what we got going here and what the future holds here,” Brunetti said.
Until Friday, the Rebels’ first full practice after the Christmas break, Brunetti had gotten the majority of bowl-practice snaps with the first unit while Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze gave starter Bo Wallace time off to rest his shoulder.
Wallace was more involved on Friday.
All Ole Miss players except backup linebacker Aaron Garbutt made it back without travel issues, and Garbutt was expected to arrive later Friday.
Brunetti was rated as one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks coming out of high school. He signed with West Virginia and transferred to Ole Miss but has not been able to win the job.
That doesn’t mean he hasn’t had big plays.
He appeared in 11 games this season, completing 21 of 32 passes for 184 yards, a TD and no interceptions.
He has been one of the Rebels’ most effective runners, carrying 53 times for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
He ran for 62 yards on seven carries against Mississippi State including a season-long 29-yard gain.
“He’s gotten lot of reps this week. Lots of times you’re real pleased with him, other times he’s just inaccurate,” Freeze said. “He does a lot of things well, and obviously we’re not scared to play him. He’s going to see action regardless of how Bo plays.”
Brunetti (6-0, 215) said he is open to seeing action at a different position next year. He sees the impact former quarterback Randall Mackey has had in the offense and envisions himself in that role.
If Freeze envisions Brunetti in a different role, he isn’t talking about it right now.
“Right now they don’t even want to talk about it. We kind of probably mentioned it, but they don’t want to bring it up,” Brunetti said.
Freeze says he doesn’t want any players to become “satisfied” and that there will be a quarterback competition in the spring.
Brunetti was unable to win the job against Wallace in a competition that carried from last spring into August. With Wallace now having a successful year under his best – he won the Conerly Trophy, which is awarded annually to Mississippi’s top college player – Brunetti would likely have an even tougher time wrestling away the job.
“I feel like I am very good with the ball in my hands. Wherever they want to put me to help the team I’ll do it,” he said. “I’m still going to go out there in the spring and fight. If they want to move me somewhere I’m willing.”