HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) – Ole Miss finished its 2012 season in Birmingham, knocking off the Pittsburgh Panthers 38-17 in the BBVA Compass Bowl at Legion Field. On Tuesday, the Rebels unofficially began its 2013 campaign in Birmingham at the 2013 SEC Media Days.
The Rebels finished 2012 with a 7-6 record overall and finished 3-5 in conference play. Junior Bo Wallace was a phenomenal asset to Hugh Freeze’s offense, passing for 2994 yards and 22 touchdowns. Wallace finished in the middle of the pack in passing efficiency, but he should benefit from having another season in Hugh Freeze’s system under his belt.
“In this league, to have an experienced quarterback is invaluable. I expect from Bo to cut down on his turnovers,” Freeze said of Wallace. “He kind of plays the game a little bit too free for me at times with the football.
“Bo’s play will obviously dictate a lot of our success. Hopefully he’s matured some. I know he has off the field. Hopefully now on the field he’s matured enough to know there’s times he’s just got to take care of the football.”
Wallace suffered a broken clavicle during the fourth game of the season and played through pain for much of the season. This offseason, he has been hard at work rehabbing to put himself in a position to be as healthy as possible when the season begins.
“He feels very good about where he’s at in his progress. They’ve released him about four weeks ago to start tossing,” Freeze explained. “Last week he began throwing full go. He’s had some soreness, of course. But everything seems to be moving along very nicely.”
Although Wallace is coming off of an injury and still has a competent backup in senior Barry Brunetti, 2013 is the first year he’s entered the season without having to worry about fighting all-out for the starting gig. Depending on a player’s mental makeup, that job security can impact how a player approaches the offseason.
But for Wallace, complacency hasn’t seemed to be an issue. If anything, it’s made him work even harder.
“His approach, I don’t know that I see a lot different as far as the way he’s working with our strength staff and stuff. I do think he understands going into it now that he knows he’s the starter, a lot of the weight of the success of our offense will come down ultimately to how he performs,” Freeze said.
“Now, that can motivate some men. It can make some men tight. I don’t think it will make him tight at all. He’s a very good competitor. He’s a tough kid. He played nine games last year with that torn-up shoulder. I give him a lot of props for that. I think it motivates him knowing that he’s the guy going into it, he’s excited being able to prove that he belongs on that stage.”
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