PARRISH ALFORD: Backup QB important role in Rebels’ offense

PARRISH ALFORD

PARRISH ALFORD

OXFORD

A few thoughts on Ole Miss football after three spring workouts …

The idea of a fast, elusive quarterback who turns pocket breakdowns into touchdowns stokes the fire of most college football fans.

DeVante Kincade can be that guy for Ole Miss.

The offense that Rebels coach Hugh Freeze runs, however, is at its best when the quarterback is on time and extremely accurate with short and intermediate throws.

Everyone likes a big arm, and that’s part of the plan, too, but if a quarterback is completing near 70 percent, the up-tempo – saved for at least another year as the rules committee chose not to advance its controversial proposal earlier this week – really moves.

That 70 percent reason is why you should not count out Ryan Buchanan in the race for No. 2 among Ole Miss quarterbacks.

Kincade and Buchanan are both redshirt freshmen vying to be the backup for Bo Wallace, who will be a third-year starter and the most experienced quarterback in the SEC in 2014.

While Kincade is the runner, Buchanan is the pocket passer. Kincade is listed at 6-feet tall and doesn’t look it. Buchanan is listed at 6-3 and does.

Former Ole Miss basketball player Murphy Holloway once described a Rebels non-conference opponent as “a bunch of little fellas running around shooting 3s.”

That would accurately describe Kincade’s physical stature, However, the little fella has made big plays not only with his feet but his arm as well.

It’s possible Kincade becomes the 70 percent guy and offers both styles for the price of one.

But the accuracy, timeliness and command of the offense are vital. No one has all of that yet, and that’s why the race for No. 2 is wide open.

He’s a good one

There’s a lot about football players that is hard to evaluate before they put on pads. It hasn’t been hard this week to see that offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is really good.

When all is said and done, he’s likely to be the highest-drafted player of the Class of 2013. The footwork is there, the strength is there.

I watched him against an OL teammate in one-on-one work. The guy rushed forward, and when Tunsil put his hands on his chest his head snapped back.

Ward’s move

I’m not sold on the move of Channing Ward from defensive end to tight end, where it seems the impact of his physicality is lessened.

Sure, he can block and hit people, but there are others who can block.

Ward has caught a few passes and dropped some, but the tight ends targeted are going to be the ones who can stretch the field. That’s sophomore Evan Engram who did it last year and Sammie Epps, an incoming freshman who could be a quick contributor in the same capacity.

Ward’s move tells you that Freeze really likes the defensive ends he has coming in – Florida International transfer Fadol Brown and prep school signee Marquis Haynes, who are there right now, plus four-star recruit Victor Evans.

Parrish Alford (parrish.alford@journalinc.com) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideOleMissSports.com.