Amidst a cloak of secrecy, with Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze throwing misdirections at the media at every turn, the Rebel mentors had, for all intents and purposes, a one-week tryout between redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin, who played most of the second half against Georgia Southern after starter Chad Kelly got hurt, and freshman Shea Patterson, who is nine games into a redshirt season, to see who would be the starting quarterback Saturday against the Aggies.
Patterson won, we were told, and will get the nod.
This Rebel offense, as do most modern offenses, depends on making throws “on time.” We were told that Pellerin was “very good with the deep ball, but he was late on shorter routes” whereas Shea was “on time” with all throws.
It’s been a week of guessing, rumor, conjecture and opinions, to say the least, with yours truly suggesting (guessing) Pellerin would start and if he moved the team and scored points, Patterson would remain redshirted. If not, Patterson would play.
That was as incorrect as national pollsters on election day.
Freeze said “anything is possible” at his press conference Monday, which included the possibility Patterson would play, but he also threw out some smoke screens, saying he would look at Evan Engram, Jeremy Liggins, Markell Pack and Dawson Knox as possible emergency backups at QB, which would indicate he was still trying to salvage Patterson’s redshirt and would go with Pellerin.
And while there were rumors floating around that Patterson would start as early as that same day (Monday), there were no other indications that would be the case.
But now the cat is out of the bag.
The Shea Patterson Era begins Saturday with Pellerin also having “a package” to run against the Aggies.
Big stage for the true freshman, but, our source said, he has earned the right to start and “we are here to win games and do what’s best for the team, now, not later.” Patterson is a former five-star prospect who was both an Army and Parade All-American as a high school senior. He led IMG to its first-ever undefeated season, completing 79 of 129 passes for 1,533 yards and 18 touchdowns to four interceptions. He completed 129 of 199 passes for 2,428 yards and 38 touchdowns to five interceptions for Calvary Baptist (La.) as a junior.
Also, OT Rod Taylor will not play against the Aggies. Center/OT Sean Rawlings will be available “in an emergency” and C Robert Conyers will “play as much as his body will allow if needed,” but as of now the starting OL will be the same as last week.
Frosh Greg Little at LT, Jordan Sims at LG, Javon Patterson at center, Daronte Bouldin at RG and Alex Givens at RT.