By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – With the season set to begin this week, the biggest difference in Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace is confidence.
The most experienced quarterback in the SEC this season, Wallace wasn’t happy with his camp in 2013. That’s changed.
“I have a lot more confidence this year because I feel like I had a great camp. Last year I felt like I didn’t have a good camp at all. It took me two or three weeks to really get back in the groove,” he said.
Last year, Wallace was coming off a January shoulder surgery. Fatigue in the shoulder from the lack of a full off-season of conditioning was one factor in his play at the end of the season, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said.
Wallace was just 52 for 82 passing for 426 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions in the last two regular season games. After a month off he was better in the Music City Bowl going 22-for-32 for 256 yards, an interception and a touchdown.
“From Day 1, I’ve felt good. I still feel good. I’m just excited about going out there and playing,” Wallace said.
Freshmen will play
Last year, Freeze was relying on a large number of freshmen. This year the list of rookies is smaller.
Some are in the redshirt gray area, depending on what happens in front of them with the health of other players.
Among the freshmen who are expected to play against Boise State, Freeze said, are offensive linemen Rod Taylor, defensive end Marquis Haynes, defensive back C.J. Hampton, defensive players and brothers A.J. and C.J. Moore, linebacker DeMarquis Gates, cornerback Kendarius Webster and receiver Markell Pack.
One of those in the gray area is defensive lineman Breeland Speaks.
“Breeland Speaks is going to be a great player. You want to do right by the kid. If we end up staying healthy there and he has four years remaining it sure would be the best for him,” Freeze said. “He’s traveling. You never know what’s going to happen with those trench guys.”
Junior nose tackle Issac Gross is making progress in recovering from a neck sprain. … Junior Mike Hilton will start at cornerback. It’s not a given he’ll play Huskie, his second position, against Boise because the staff has been pleased with the progress of freshman A.J. Moore. … Backup middle linebacker Christian Russell, a junior college transfer, is also making strides. “A tremendous athlete. He can make up for some mistakes because he runs so well,” Freeze said