Werner: 'Kelly A Little Bit Ahead'

Ole Miss Co-Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner called the quarterback competition "so close," but in the end JUCO transfer Chad Kelly will get the starting nod for the season opener against UT-Martin Saturday at 11 a.m. in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

The QB race at Ole Miss during August camp hasn't been an "eenie-meenie-miney-mo" situation, but according to OC/QB Coach Dan Werner, the chase for number one has been almost that close.

"We studied everything," said Dan. "Accuracy, decision-making, drives, touchdowns, the least interceptions and protecting the ball. In the end it was very, very close, but Chad (Kelly) was a little bit ahead. It was a tough call, but we decided to let him get the first snap and see how it goes, but all three are going to play. Saturday.

"Honestly, all three (Kelly, Ryan Buchanan, Devante Kincade) have played well, like I have been saying all camp long. It's been a good thing, the competition they have had. I'm pleased so far. Now the next step is to see who plays best in the games. We have a plan for how we are going to split things up in the opener."

While Kelly has the slight edge now, he still has to perform when the lights come on.

"He's obviously excited, but he knows the pressure is still on because he's got to go out there and play good football in the games to keep his status," Werner continued. "The other two have the same challenge. If they want to overtake Chad, they have to perform on Saturdays."

The other "concern," for lack of a better word, has been the development of the offensive line because of the many OL who missed part or all of spring training.

"Everything they have shown us in summer camp is that they are playing good football. They are a cohesive unit and we've got a little better depth than we have had," Dan stated. "We think we've moved guys around and have our best five out there and we have identified guys we can put in there to give those five a breather when we are going real fast. We feel we have the ability to rotate some."

Speaking of going fast, that is the goal this year of the Rebel offensive coaches, as has been stated since spring training.

"Our tempo stuff has been really good. We've had some success this fall against our defense, which I feel is as good as anyone's," Dan closed. "We have been preaching going fast since day one of spring camp and carried it over through August. We got away from our tempo stuff a little bit the past couple of years, but this year we are getting back to our roots.

"Obviously, we can run the offense at different speeds if we need to - if guys are winded or the defense needs a breather during one of these hot games, but it would be great to me if we got 100 plays a game. In other words, the goal is to go fast."

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