Craig Stephens

Bo Wallace’s Spring Of Rehab

Created on Apr. 27, 2013 9:22 AM EST

Head coach Hugh Freeze has won everywhere. That includes his stops at small programs like Arkansas State. Freeze’s ability to win in any circumstance caught the attention of Ole Miss, so they hired the charismatic coach. Freeze brought another winner with him to Oxford in quarterback Bo Wallace.

Wallace is a 6-foot-5 rocket-armed quarterback from Pulaski, Tenn. He worked with Freeze in 2010 at Arkansas State. Wallace redshirted and then transferred to JUCO. After a year at East Mississippi Community College, he followed Freeze to Ole Miss. In 2012, he was named the starting quarterback. He threw for 2,994 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for another 8 touchdowns. Wallace also completed a solid 63.9 percent of his passes.

This is a talented quarterback playing for a talented coach. People were starting to whisper about BCS bowls and Heisman trophies after Freeze landed a top-five recruiting class. It’s hard to blame fans for having lofty expectations. The Rebels' up-tempo, downfield passing offense is a perfect fit for Wallace. With the return of wide receiver Donte Moncrief, and the addition of the top receiver prospect Laquon Treadwell, Wallace has a duo capable of generating huge chunks of yardage. The top tackle prospect, Laremy Tunsil, is also coming to Oxford this fall, giving Wallace more time in the pocket.

The stars are aligning for a magical season at Ole Miss. The only wrench in this grand narrative is Wallace’s shoulder injury. Wallace had shoulder surgery in January and has been unable to practice with the team all spring. He has had to sit on the sidelines and watch the Rebels’ offense struggle without him. Wallace has taken advantage of the new perspective by following around coach Freeze during practice and collecting mental reps during spring practice.

The good news is that this time has given Wallace a chance to focus on eliminating mistakes. He has extensively studied his 17 interceptions from last season and vows to cut down on mistakes. Wallace was clearly a different player after his initial shoulder injury against Tulane, but continued to play hurt throughout the season. A weak shoulder and a drop in throwing power changed the way that the pocket passer played. He was unable to make throws he could normally squeeze through coverage, resulting in that high number of interceptions.

Wallace will start throwing later this week and is expecting to start the first game of the season. With all the hype surrounding Ole Miss, fans are expecting a special season. For the Rebels to even be competitive this year, they need Bo Wallace to be healthy. Freeze can do all the coaching he wants, but without a quarterback, this Ole Miss offense is a luxury sports car without an engine. If Wallace can get healthy and eliminate mistakes, SEC teams are going to have serious trouble when they come to the Grove.

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