By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Junior college transfer Bo Wallace has been named the starting quarterback for Ole Miss.
His next challenge will be to keep the job.
The school announced the decision of Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze on Thursday afternoon. The Rebels open the season Saturday night at 6 against Central Arkansas.
Wallace maintained a slight edge on junior Barry Brunetti – in his second season since transferring from West Virginia – but was never able to take command of the two-player competition.
Both players struggled with turnovers at various times, prompting Freeze to call for better decisions form his quarterbacks.
He wants a quarterback who will, “No. 1 protect the football, No. 2 keep us on schedule, No. 3, be able to function in our tempo and have productive drives,” Freeze said earlier this week.
Wallace is perceived to be the better passer, Brunetti the better runner.
Both quarterbacks will play, and if one gets a “hot hand,” he’ll play longer.
“Bo (Wallace) will take the first series, and we’ll see how he’ll do,” Freeze said. “But Barry (Brunetti) will get his chances too. For me, it’s really about who can move our football team and produce the first couple of weeks.”
Both will play
Freeze has said since the summer that two quarterbacks would play and that it could be several games into the season, perhaps longer, before one quarterback truly establishes himself.
Wallace, a sophomore, signed with Arkansas State in 2010, when Freeze was offensive coordinator there, and was redshirted.
When he did not win the job in the spring, he transferred to East Mississippi Community College where he led the Lions to a 12-0 record, a national championship and set national records for passing yards (4,604), total yards (4,810) and touchdown passes (53).
Freeze said both players had a positive response to the decision.
“I thought they were fine; they’re mature and have been through a lot,” he said. “It was solely based upon the competitive situation. (Wallace) graded out a little higher, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to play any better than Barry Saturday, and vice versa.”