Ole Miss quarterback Nathan Stanley is leaving the program, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said.
The four-man quarterback competition has not gone well for Stanley this spring. In recent days his number of snaps in practice have diminished, making him appear to be fourth in the race, although
Nutt has neither named a starter nor publicly ranked his candidates.
Just observing though, Stanley was not only fourth in the race but a distant fourth. He just wasn't having a very good spring. I've seen him look better in practice in his time at Ole Miss.
Randall Mackey, Barry Brunetti and Zack Stoudt have all had their moments, but Stanley hasn't delivered many big plays.
Mackey emerged as the leader at the mid-way point, though last Saturday's scrimmage wasn't his best day.
When spring began I thought Stoudt might emerge as the starter. I've been more impressed with Mackey as a QB than I thought I would be. When I saw Mackey in open scrimmages last August it didn't seem like he had much zip on his passes. That's changed, and he's been the most accurate of the quarterbacks for the most part.
Brunetti's status will be up in the air until the NCAA rules on his waiver request. If the job is left to a Mackey-Stoudt competition, Stoudt will have to be really good. If he's only "pretty good," Mackey will have an edge with his mobility, and that's very important to Nutt.
I didn't think Stanley would win the job this spring. The thing I kept coming back to was last year's Tennessee game. With Jeremiah Masoli out for a week with a concussion, Stanley was prepared all week as though he would be the starter.
Nutt had an opportunity to put in a "package" with Stanley, to do prepare a play or two that were not on film and spring on the Vols. Not only did Nutt not prepare such a package, once he named Masoli the starter late that week, he kept Masoli in the game until it 45-14, and he had thrown three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns.
Masoli was clearly affected by the concussion, but Nutt was reluctant to use Stanley, his Game 1 starter.
That indicated some level of disconnect between the coach and the player.
Having a new offensive coordinator and QB coach this season did not help Stanley in the race. It negated any advantage he might have had by having spent several years in the program.
Nathan Stanley was always polite and respectful, and he dealt with some interesting situations, like the sudden appearance of Masoli last year. I wish him well.