By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze says he’s unlikely to name a No. 2 quarterback prior to the Rebels’ Aug. 28 opener against Boise State in Atlanta.
If there’s a need for someone to take over for Bo Wallace circumstances would dictate whether the call would go to Ryan Buchanan or DeVante Kincade.
The two redshirt freshmen were the focus of a Wednesday night scrimmage. Buchanan has emerged as a more consistent passer. Kincade is a gifted runner, a physical asset that can sometimes work against him.
Freeze says he’d like to see Kincade make better decisions.
“I’m trying to make sure I stay in the pocket more and deliver better throws,” Kincade said.
Freeze was pleased with Friday’s workout but not pleased with losing another player for the entire season.
Sophomore reserve cornerback Carlos Davis, a key special teams performer, tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament (ACL) in the scrimmage and will have surgery Monday.
He was the No. 1 candidate at punt returner. Freeze said Trae Elston, Anthony Alford and Markell Pack will now compete for the job.
The Rebels are also without veteran nose tackle Issac Gross. He’s missed most of camp with a neck sprain. He returned to practice earlier in the week but was out again on Friday.
Training staff believe a little more time off will be all that’s needed to get Gross back on the field.
“They have kind of a protocol they’re going to take him through. They think they can improve him doing this if we hold him out for a few more days,” Freeze said.
Woodrow Hamilton and Bryon Bennett have gotten most of the reps at nose tackle in the absence of Gross.
Backing up Bo
The Rebels have a presently healthy and experienced starting quarterback in Wallace. Developing young players behind him has been one of the story lines of camp.
Buchanan’s confidence is increasing.
“I feel like I’ve made a lot of improvement since the spring,” he said. “I don’t think I’m complete yet. I think I did some really good things in the scrimmage. I played well in the two-minute drill, but I’ve got to punch it in in the red zone.”
Freeze says Buchanan has shown himself to be a more consistent passer but notes that Kincade might look better if a plan was scripted to his strengths.
That’s how it would be on a game day but not on a regular practice day when much of the emphasis is on installing the complete offensive package.
Freeze won’t publicly name a backup quarterback. The race for No. 2 won’t have a known winner unless or until something against Boise State necessitates bringing in the backup.
“It would depend on what we’re needing at that moment,” he said. “Each have different strengths. We’ll do everything with both of them, but it would depend on the scenario as to which one would go in.”
By Parrish Alford