PARRISH ALFORD: Lack of QB depth exposed

OXFORD

Not everyone was pleased with Ole Miss in a 31-13 win over a foe, Southeast Missouri State, it could have scored twice that much against.

Atop the list of the unsatisfied was Rebels coach Hugh Freeze, who told the media he was glad we stayed awake to attend his postgame presser, saying the Rebels didn’t do much to keep us or their fans alert and attentive.

The plus side to that is a lot of writing can get done before deadline, much unlike the Rebels’ season-opening 39-35 win at Vanderbilt.

The most important thing to note here is this: most players who needed to look good did.

Bo Wallace was, after a slow start, on target. Jeff Scott averaged 7 yards a carry. Evan Engram and Donte Moncrief caught passes and outran the opposing secondary.

If backup quarterback Barry Brunetti – who entered after Wallace played one drive in the second quarter – had not fumbled twice and had led a couple of second-half scoring drives instead, there would have been a completely different feeling about the SEMO game.

Brunetti did lead an 11-play scoring drive in the second quarter. He was 0-for-1 passing on the drive.

Potential struggles

Still, the second half provided a glimpse of the struggle that could lie ahead if an injury forces Wallace to miss multiple games or the entire season.

Brunetti was 3-for-12 passing, an accuracy rate that will grind the tempo offense to a halt and get the defense back on the field before it’s caught its breath.

Freeze said he was very close to burning a redshirt and playing a freshman. He didn’t name Devante Kincade, but that’s who it will be if necessary. That’s where the time is invested – continues to be invested – and Kincade was impressive in August.

If the unthinkable happens to Wallace, someone has to be able to get the ball to the playmakers at receiver.

The plan would likely include a Brunetti package and a Kincade package with the number of snaps varying by opponent and how much game speed Kincade could quickly grasp and apply.

Reducing turnovers

Trying to reduce 17 interceptions from a year ago, Wallace has survived a couple of passes that could have been picked and has played turnover-free for two games.

His good decisions and good health are what Ole Miss needs to be at peak performance as the three-game road trip begins Saturday at Texas.

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

  • Christopher

    I think there’s probably a lot of that around the SEC Parrish. I quake when I see AJ get sacked because I don’t feel comfortable with his backup. Back to Ole Miss, you’re saying a rs freshman will probably be starting next year cuz aren’t Wallace and Brunetti seniors?