The departure of Nathan Stanley raises an interesting question of depth at quarterback.
Even with Stanley there was virtually no experience among the four, so that’s not a great issue. The issue is going from four players to two and a question mark.
Randall Mackey, Zack Stoudt and Barry Brunetti have all done good things this spring, but Brunetti’s status will remain uncertain until the NCAA rules on his waiver request, and waiting on the NCAA is never a good thing. The “when” of the ruling is almost as important as the “how.”
Brunetti may fit the committee’s criteria to grant a hardship waiver of its one-year residency requirement for all transfers, but if there’s any discussion among the group, the final vote could be influenced by the fact that Brunetti has a year to give. He can redshirt and lose no eligibility.
In the grand scheme of things that would be better for Ole Miss, but coaches, understandably, have to consider the worst-case scenario. If Brunetti isn’t eligible, that leaves two quarterbacks in whom they’ve heavily invested in the spring, and they’re just one big hit away from things getting really dicey.
If the Brunetti decision drags through the summer, I wonder if we don’t see more practice reps for walk-on Evan Ingram in August. Personally, I think Ingram is capable, and it’s not a stretch to see a scenario where he goes into August as the third guy.
Mackey and Stoudt, the two lead candidates at the moment, have yet to take a snap at a senior college. Brunetti appeared in four games at West Virginia. He attempted nine passes, completing four. He rushed once for four yards.
After a very impressive debut as the starter against Jacksonville State last year, Stanley had very few opportunities. When he had those opportunities, he didn’t do enough to impress the coaching staff and gain more opportunities. He was not close to winning the starting job, but had he remained, the Rebels would have had a backup with some experience, knowledge of the program and the players around him.