A look at Ole Miss positions heading into camp:
The Rebels return a proven and successful starter at the most important position.
What a difference a year makes. Bo Wallace couldn’t win the job in the spring of 2012 and couldn’t fully distance himself from Barry Brunetti last August.
While Wallace was effective in the opener against Central Arkansas, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze stopped short of naming him the starter forevermore.
Now Wallace comes back after winning the Conerly Trophy by throwing for just shy of 3,000 yards with 22 touchdowns.
The problem was he also threw 17 interceptions, a number that has to drop this season.
The Rebels need Wallace to be just as strong in the run game as he was last year when he was the team’s second-leading rusher and ran for eight touchdowns.
But he’ll have to pick his spots and be quicker to get down rather than turn up field if it means risking a hit on his surgically repaired shoulder.
Brunetti will likely remain the No. 1 backup even after his May arrest for possession of drug paraphernalia came to light. In his only statement addressing Brunetti, Freeze used the past tense in saying the situation had been “addressed” internally.
Maybe that means missed game time, maybe not. Stay tuned.
If Brunetti is not available for the Aug. 29 opener against Vanderbilt that’s a big deal. There will be no game action before then to fully answer questions about Wallace’s shoulder and stamina.
Brunetti has far and away the most experience of the reserves. That was true before Maikhail Miller announced his decision to transfer.
Brunetti has shown himself to be a strong runner but an inconsistent passer.
If Wallace were to go down for an extended period Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze might be tempted to look at one of his freshmen if they could digest enough offense to consistently involve the receivers.
There are two four-star signees in pocket passer Ryan Buchanan and dual-threat Devante Kincade, who could be a wildcat option if he is truly two threats and not one.
Miller, like Brunetti, had not made great strides in the passing game, albeit with fewer opportunities.
However, Miller had shown himself to be a big, strong runner who could break tackles and fight through contact at the line of scrimmage. The Rebels lacked that guy last year, and it’s not a stretch to think that would have been a role for Miller had he remained.