Benefit of Experience

There are many reasons Ole Miss Quarterbacks Coach Dan Werner is optimistic about the position for the 2014 season. Inside, Werner discusses that and how spring training went for the QB slot.

Senior Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace had a productive spring training.

Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Dan Werner says he was not surprised, for a multitude of reasons.

"Bo was excellent in spring ball," said Werner. "He has a great command of our offense, he was healthier than he has been since he first got here and he is driven to have a great senior season."

The "great command of the offense" stems from two factors, as Werner noted.

"Two years of starting has been invaluable to him. He's played most teams we will play twice already. It's a been there and done that type of thing. He's got, what, 16 league games and two bowl games under his belt. In this league, experience at quarterback matters a lot," Werner continued. "Also, after our last regular season game, Bo came to see me and said he would never allow something like that to happen again.

"Since then, he has become more studious. He's been more driven to excel. I can see a real change in his approach. 2014 is his last go-around on the college level and he wants it to be memorable. Bo has shown me with the way he has attacked things since the Egg Bowl how serious he is about it. His study habits, his rehab, his offseason work - everything has been top notch."

The icing on the proverbial cake concerning Wallace also has Werner excited.

"I think after he gets finished with all his summer work and rehab with the throwing coach in California, his arm will be back where it was - if not better, than when he got here two years ago," Werner stated. "In short, I fully expect Bo - based on spring training and what he has done since and his determination level - to go to the next level his senior season."

Bo Wallace
Petre Thomas

The battle for the number two slot was not decided in spring training, according to Werner.

Redshirt freshmen Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan remained deadlocked after battling it out all spring to see who would back up Wallace.

"The general opinion is that DeVante is the better athlete, but both can throw and run and both are athletic," Werner assessed. "The thing I like about both of them is that they both can run the entire offense. We don't have to worry about devising any kind of packages for them.

"DeVante has a quick release and a strong arm. Also, he knew this type of offensive scheme when he got here because he ran a similar scheme in high school. He's got a pretty good grasp of the offense because of that. All he had to do was learn new terminology.

"Ryan is really comfortable in the pocket. He makes quality throws under pressure and seems to be able to feel pressure while still looking downfield. He's cool under fire. He's worked really hard on the mechanics of his throwing motion, including his footwork, and that showed in spring ball."

JUCO transfer Jeremy Liggins also played quarterback in spring training and did some impressive things, stated Werner.

"Jeremy just had, and has, so much to learn. He's OK in the run game because he ran a similar run game scheme in high school, but our passing scheme is totally foreign to him," stated Werner. "As big as he is and as gifted an athlete as he is, we will have to find something for him to do, be it short yardage, Red Zone, whatever. We'll have a plan for him."

True freshman Kendrick Doss, who came to Ole Miss at mid-semester, also showed Werner potential for the future at QB.

"Like Jeremy, he has a lot to learn, but Kendrick is smart, tough and athletic. He's got a strong arm and he made plays in the spring when he'd get a grasp of something we were doing," Werner closed. "We just need to be patient with him and bring him along at a comfortable pace.

"Fortunately, we have that luxury because we are set for a year with Bo and then we can groom the others at a pace where they can really absorb what we are teaching and have it engrained in their minds."

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