By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Two truths regarding the soap opera of the Bo Wallace shoulder: It isn’t going to heal before Saturday’s BBVA Compass Bowl, and it isn’t going to keep him out of the game.
The shoulder has been an ongoing issue since Wallace took a hit on it against Tulane in Week 4.
He’s played effectively through the rest of the season, though practice weeks have required creative management from Freeze.
Wallace was held out of work before the Christmas break with more first-team reps going to backup Barry Brunetti.
“It is what it is. He’s sore,” Freeze said. “Bo’s going to play. He has all year. Barry’s done a lot of good things too, and we’ll be ready to go with either one of them.”
As wide receiver Donte Moncrief came alive in the last two games, Wallace also finished strong in a 41-35 loss at LSU and a 41-24 win against Mississippi State.
Wallace threw for 604 yards and seven touchdowns in those games but also threw five interceptions.
Some of those interceptions were the result of the shoulder and not being able to fit the ball into certain “windows” to which he’d been accustomed.
Freeze recognized this as well and held Wallace out of the final drive at LSU because he didn’t think Wallace’s shoulder was strong enough for him to throw the ball down-field at that time.
His awareness of the shoulder can cause him to alter his mechanics, Wallace said.
“It’s tough throwing, because it makes my release longer. We’re working on my feet, trying to to get such a wide base that it puts stress on my arm.”
That sort of focus on footwork is standard procedure, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner said.
“The whole thing is if you’re stepping into the throw it lessens pressure on the arm,” Werner said. “If you’re stepping away from where you’re throwing, it uses more arm. That’s something we’ve worked on since I’ve been here.”
Wallace says he’s being careful not to pick up habits that could cause him problems in the spring and in preparation for next fall.
“Every year going into a season you get sloppy with your mechanics no matter what,” he said. “That’s something I have to concentrate on when I’m out here.”