By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Most hands were on deck at Monday’s first bowl practice for Ole Miss. Not all hands were involved all the time.
Quarterback Bo Wallace practiced but in a limited capacity, as Rebels coach Hugh Freeze attempts to get as much rest as possible for the ailing shoulder that has plagued Wallace since he took a hit in the Tulane game.
“We have seven full practices after we get back from Christmas. We’re going to try to hold him until those seven. We’re just trying to make sure he has as much pop in his arm as he can for the bowl game,” Freeze said.
Surgery in the off-season is a possibility for Wallace. That decision will be made after the bowl game.
In their first organized practice since gaining bowl-eligibility with a 41-24 win over Mississippi State in the season finale, the Rebels worked for roughly two hours.
The only potential academic casualty for the bowl game is senior tight end Jamal Mosley.
Ferbia Allen, the Rebels’ other senior tight end, sustained a torn MCL against Vanderbilt. He missed the final two games of the regular season but is expected to play Jan. 5 against Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl, even though he’ll play at somewhat less than full strength.
Full strength is a status that Wallace, a first-year junior college transfer, rarely enjoyed en route to winning the Conerly Trophy.
“It just got worse as the season went on. Once it got so bad, it really wasn’t going to get any worse, so you just play through it. If you have to get it fixed, you get it fixed,” he said.
Through the pain Wallace completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 19 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
He needs 157 passing yards against Pitt – which is No. 22 nationally in pass efficiency defense – to reach 3,000 passing yards for the season.
Wallace has been working his shoulder with weights and the elastic band. He said had the Rebels had another regular season game following the Egg Bowl he’d have been ready.
“Oh, I’d have played. The Mississippi State game it felt better than it did midway through the season. I think the Vandy game it was hurting really bad. The LSU game it was hurting really bad, after that week, I kind of sat that week, but for Mississippi State I was fine.”