QBs Transition

Two upperclassmen - Zack Stoudt and Barry Brunetti - were signed to the Ole Miss football team and are already on campus working out. Read their thoughts inside.

Zack Stoudt, the 6-5, 225-pound quarterback signee from Iowa Western CC, approached the podium for his first official interview with the media as an Ole Miss Rebel.

As the regular beat reporters placed their recorders at the podium, he extended an introductory hand to each and smiled a nice-to-meet-you-smile.

In the brief Q & A that followed, his charisma came through.

"Iowa Western is near Omaha (NE). We usually went there for entertainment. Not much going on in Council Bluffs, Iowa," he grinned. "My dorm was literally in a corn field."

Stoudt is enthusiastic and philosophical about his opportunity at Ole Miss.

Stoudt believes the quarterback race is wide open
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"This is my third stop in college," said Stoudt, who signed with Louisville but left for Iowa Western. "It's nothing new for me to meet people and transition to a new place. I think it's an advantage that I have moved a couple of times in coming to a new place.

"The Southern hospitality is not a lie. That's really helped me. I like it here already and I've been here, what, three weeks?"

Stoudt was primarily recruited by former QB Coach David Rader, but is now under new OC/QB Coach David Lee.

"We are all starting from scratch, on even terms. Everyone at quarterback is pretty much on the same level in terms of getting on the same page with Coach Lee. That's nice," Zack continued. "We've been real basic so far because we only get to meet with Coach Lee once a week due to the eight-hour rule with the NCAA and offseason practices.

"What we have learned so far is terminology so we can all speak the same language. Today was the first day we have gone over any pass plays. Coach Lee has done a good job of keeping us all at the same level and on the same page. He's kept things simple so far. It's a confidence boost that I'm not miles behind the other guys and we are all kind of at the same level."

Like all athletes, Stoudt wants to get "bigger, faster, stronger."

"Coming from JUCO to the SEC, I'd like to get bigger. I am 225 now and want to be 230 for spring and 235 for next fall," Stoudt noted. "Working with Coach (Don) Decker, I know we'll all get stronger and I want to work on my speed as well."

Stoudt believes spring is wide open.

"We have all been told we will all get an opportunity to prove ourselves. There is no 'guy' right now," he said. "(Randall) Mackey and (Nathan) Stanley were here last year, but we are all starting over with a new OC/QB coach.

"Barry (Brunetti) and I will probably get a few extra reps at the start of spring to get us on even terms with Nathan and Randall, but it's going to be a battle all the way through."

Brunetti arrives at Ole Miss after a year spent at West Virginia
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Despite very little throwing with wideouts and skill players so far, Zack is confident the Rebs will field some weapons next year to throw to.

"I've watched film from last year and have thrown a little to Ja-Mes Logan and Melvin Harris, he added. "Ja-Mes is impressive. Melvin has a huge upside.

"I've watched guys running and lifting in the offseason and that gets me excited. We will have some weapons. Obviously, the more we can throw, the better our chemistry will be. We'll get that down."

Barry Brunetti comes to Ole Miss under different, well-publicized terms as a transfer from West Virginia after one year with the Mountaineers.

"The transition here is kind of like going to West Virginia as a freshman. Everything is new - the offense, the offseason workouts, the people," said Brunetti, also a personable sort. "This is actually much better because I know a lot of people here already.

"One of my best friends, who I have known since I was 4, is Reginald Buckner on the basketball team. I knew Ja-Mes (Logan) before I got here and a lot of people who I went to school with at MUS who aren't athletes are here as well. I am already comfortable here."

Brunetti is waiting on an appeal to the NCAA to allow him to become immediately eligible due to personal circumstances that made it necessary for him to move closer to his home in Memphis.

"We are working on it. I met with Mr. (David) Wells (compliance) today trying to get everything in order," he stated. "It will probably not be until after spring before we know, so I will approach spring as if I will be eligible in the fall. I'm not going to think about it."

If Brunetti is not granted the waiver, he will take it in stride.

"I've got three more years to play. If I have to sit out a year, I will just work to get better. It will be one more year to improve, so I am not going to worry about it either way," Barry said resolutely. "If I am not granted immediate eligibility, I'll be a vocal leader on the sidelines."

For now, he's excited about competing for the quarterback job in spring.

"Everyone out there, even the walk-ons, have good, strong arms," he explained. "It appears to me the guy who will lead, be a vocal leader, and the guy who picks up the offense the best will be the quarterback."

Barry and Mackey are similar as dual threat QBs, while Stanley and Stoudt are more pro-style signal callers.

"We are all going to be doing the same things to start out with. For me, I need to show I can operate under center as well as I can in the shotgun," said Brunetti. "I'm trying to get faster and stronger right now and I am also working on my footwork and coming out from under center."

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