A Better Bo

Bo Wallace did something in the first practice of his final season he hadn’t done much of the past couple of years.

"He overthrew two streaks,” said Ole Miss third-year head coach Hugh Freeze following the Rebels’ initial team session for the 2014 season.

Wallace has said for a while he’s the best he’s been in a while. Freeze said the overthrows were a good sign, in his opinion, and made for a bit of fun at the start of the month prior to the season opener in Atlanta against Boise State.

“We’ve never had that problem before,” Freeze said of the balls that sailed longer than they were supposed to out of the hand of Wallace on Saturday. “We just hoped they got there sometimes. We kinda laughed about that some (Saturday).”

Wallace said prior to the first practice, when the media had an opportunity to talk to him Friday, that it’s a new day for him indeed.

“I feel as good as I’ve ever felt, except that first year coming in,” said the Giles County (Tenn.) High School product, whose path took him to Arkansas State and East Mississippi Community College prior to his arrival in Oxford. “I feel 100 percent. I can put a lot more zip on the ball. I can push the ball downfield more. I’m just anxious to be out there.”

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace.

Prior to last season, as has been well documented for months, Wallace wasn’t able to prepare after offseason surgery and rehab following the 2012 season. That hasn’t been the case this time around.

“Just being able to actually get a good workout in and make it through the whole offseason and get to lift,” he said has been extremely beneficial to get him to this point.

Wallace said he expects the offense to benefit from his wellness and be successful with its tempo heading into the season opener later this month.

“But I don’t think my arm was ever an issue with the tempo,” he said of last season. “I think tempo, we were always pretty fast. I don’t see that changing much. We were pretty good at that last year, and I don’t expect any difference in it.”

Wallace said the whole team is in a better situation heading into this year’s camp than any he’s been around. Some of that has to do with more talented players throughout the roster.

“The offseason we put in was huge,” he said. “This was the best offseason I’ve been a part of. Guys know at each position that if they don’t come out here and work hard every day, they’re going to get passed up. So the competition brings out the best in everybody. To have that level of competition every day is only going to make us better. And hopefully that will produce more wins.”

Wallace is not only an experienced Southeastern Conference quarterback of two seasons but one of the most experienced in the country. The preseason media pollings and gatherings are over, as well as all the prognosticating as to which team could do what and which quarterback might do this or that.

All that makes for conversation among the press, the talk shows, and the fans. Wallace said that’s fine, but it’s August now and time to keep preparing for the games and play them.

“All the hype and all the things people can say, it’s over now,” said Wallace, listed at 6-foot-4, 217 pounds heading into camp. “It’s time to play football.”

A healthy Wallace should mean Ole Miss has a chance to be even better in 2014.

“His arm is definitely stronger,” said Freeze, 15-11 in his two seasons with the Rebels. “We just hope it can sustain that (strength) through the course of time and grind over the year."

After day one, so far so good.

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