Rader likes QB 'options'

The quarterback meeting room looked sparse for a while, but now, with the additions since spring, Co-OC and QB Coach David Rader is enjoying the crowd. Read about it inside.

What a difference a few months, and some creative recruiting, can make.

Just ask Ole Miss Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach David Rader.

During spring, he only had three QBs - Nathan Stanley, Raymond Cotton and walkon Richard Absher - on the whole football lot, and Cotton was hurt for the last two weeks of the spring session.

Then, during the summer, Cotton bolted, leaving Stanley, JUCO transfer Randall Mackey and walkon Witt Haggard in the house during the summer months. (Absher also opted not to come back.)

For a week or so, it looked like that would be how the Rebs entered the season. Then, through a twist of fate and persistence, Jeremiah Masoli checked in. Then, Hargrave transfer Evan Ingram, a 6-2, 230-pound strapping youngster, opted to walkon as well.

Jeremiah Masoli

Suddenly, things got more crowded in Rader's room. Thank goodness.

And it's crowded with quality, in his opinion after his first look Sunday.

"I don't know if I have ever been in a room with more ability and talent. Overall, that's a very talented room," said Rader. "Certainly, we have a lot of work to do, a lot of experience to gain and a lot of piecing together to do, but they are a talented bunch.

"With what Nathan has done since the start of spring, with Randall being a winner on every level and a JUCO All-American, with Jeremiah being the MVP of the Rose Bowl - it's pretty impressive. Let's make sure we get that package right for them. My first thought is that I feel good with the material we have to work with."

Coming off the field Sunday, Rader said he had some quick thoughts on all of them.

"Nathan knows everything about the offense. He can get people in the right places and is very good about getting us out of bad plays and into good ones," David continued. "Randall? Man, he's quick. Man, he's got a quick release. Man, he's got a stronger, more accurate arm than I anticipated.

"Jeremiah has been there and done that. He gives you a comfort and security that he's a mature, experienced QB. His questions are more down the line, more advanced than you would expect from a newcomer.

Nathan Stanley

"With Evan and Witt, my first thought was that I was disappointed I couldn't get them more reps. They both throw the ball well, they are both smart in the meeting room and they both deserve reps. They know how to play quarterback. Our problem is that we have that first game staring us in the face. We want to be fair, but we know we can't be even with reps."

Having said that, Rader is not glowing just yet.

"They all need experience in one form or fashion. Jeremiah has game experience, but not in this system. Nathan has some experience, but not what you'd like going into a season. Randall has none on this level," Rader explained. "I do like what I'd guess you'd call the raw material we are working with though."

One thing was evident in Sunday's practice - the Rebel offensive staff is adjusting things to match the skills of the individual players. There was more option run on Sunday than there was for all of last spring.

"Even though we had some option stuff planned for Raymond, now we have Masoli and Mackey, who are both fit for that, but as I said, both of them have wider boundaries than I thought in what I believe they can handle," Rader closed.

What a difference a few months can make.

Amazing, really.

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