By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Junior college transfer Bo Wallace had an edge on the competition – if ever so slightly – but it remains to be seen what that translates to in the race to find a starting quarterback at Ole Miss.
Early on, Wallace and junior Barry Brunetti established themselves as the contenders for the job.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze thought Wallace had the better day in Saturday’s 120-play scrimmage, but not by much.
Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said he considered Wallace and Brunetti even.
“My gut standing out there, I thought probably Bo had a little better day, but Barry had his share of good plays too. We’ll evaluate it and see,” Freeze said.
Freeze praised the ball-protection of both quarterbacks and the rest of the offensive personnel. There were two interceptions thrown, both by Brunetti, one very early and one late, the latter coming in overtime-period work when safety Charles Sawyer closed quickly on a well-thrown ball.
Brunetti finished 12 for 17 for 119 yards and had touchdown passes of 20 yards to Vincent Sanders and 23 yards to Ja-Mes Logan.
On his play, Sanders was covered well by safety Cody Prewitt and made a nice adjustment for the ball.
Wallace finished 10 for 23 for 113 yards with three touchdowns. His scoring passes went to Logan for 9 yards, to Terrell Grant for 13 yards and to Sanders for 20 yards. Prewitt was matched up against Sanders again, went for the pick and missed, and Sanders turned and raced to the end zone.
Making things happen
Both quarterbacks showed nice awareness in the pocket and an ability to make things happen on the ground.
“I’d make a pretty good play then come back and make a mistake mentally or whatever. I’m not real pleased with it, but at the same time it’s never as good as it seems, never as bad as it seems,” Wallace said.
Brunetti won the job by default a little more than a week before the 2011 opener when Randall Mackey was arrested. After everything played out, Brunetti started the last game of the season as well. He feels like he’s getting a more “fair” shot at the job this time.
“I kind of had a fair shot in camp (last year), but I wouldn’t say so during the season,” he said.
Bunetti says he needs to do a better job of finishing drives to finish off this quarterback competition.
Freeze says both quarterbacks – and other players on offense as well – can help themselves by managing the game better.
“I’d be so pleased with one on one play then so mad at them the next. Our quarterbacks, our personnel, we don’t quite understand the game … third-and-2 and we have very little awareness,” he said.