Published on April 21st, 2014 | by Red Cup Rebellion0
Bo Is Our Best Bet
Of course, given that there are only two full-time SEC returners at the position for 2014, it’s a bit of a distinction by default, but when considering what Bo was asked to do and the circumstances in which he has done it, it is hard to argue that he is not deserving of both his role in the Ole Miss offense and among the SEC quarterbacks by and large.
In 2014, he will be entering his third season in head coach Hugh Freeze’s offense as a seasoned senior. He’s the first Ole Miss Rebel since Eli Manning to hold onto the Rebel starting job for that long, making his leadership a highly welcomed interruption of a near decade of quarterbacks by committee, last minute transfer students, and converted wide receivers or halfbacks under center. He has brought consistency to a largely inconsistent SEC program and helped form a foundation for the future successes of the Ole Miss offense.
With just over 7,000 offensive yards and 54 total touchdowns under his belt, the gutsy gunslinger has taken what was a 2-10 team to a 15-11 record since 2012. He has fought through injuries, endured a risky shoulder surgery, and stood tall behind a shaky Ole Miss offensive line en route to an overall winning record.
Somehow and unfortunately unsurprisingly, Ole Miss fans – a very vocal minority of which, at least – are not particularly satisfied by Wallace’s Rebel career. “He’s been inconsistent,” they’ll rightfully point out. “He’s reckless and injury prone,” they’ll also correctly state. “He has long hair and doesn’t tuck in his shirts,” they’ll bring up.
Along with criticism’s against Bo Wallace, excited speculation surrounding redshirt freshmen Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan’s potential has grown in recent months – as have visions of former Lafayette County Star and once-LSU signee Jeremy Liggins as a viable quarterback in this league. Kincade’s a highly athletic quarterback with a very accurate arm, Buchanan’s tall and gutsy, and Liggins has demonstrated a winning edge time and time again. Surely they, the line of thinking must go, would outperform Bo Wallace as the Rebel quarterback.
Well that, if I must be frank, is an absolutely silly position to take. Bo Wallace may be a flawed quarterback who is far from the ideal Ole Miss Rebel gunslinger, but he is the best quarterback on this team right now as well as a pretty damn good player in his own right. To say that there simply isn’t a better quarterback available to the Rebels right now, while true, suggests that Wallace is something that we are settling for, as opposed to him actually being a capable, smart player who has demonstrated the ability to make his team competitive.
Of all of his positive attributes, his most important is that he has legitimate experience as a starter at quarterback in the Southeastern conference. He has started 26 games, making him both one of the more experienced offensive players on the Ole Miss roster as well as in the SEC at large. He has started, and won, games against the likes of Texas, LSU, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. Aside from simply knowing his playbook and his coaches’ tendencies, he knows everything you would want a quarterback to know. He knows what both triumph and defeat can do to a player’s psyche, what cheers and boos sound like, what bone-rattling hits from SEC defenders feel like. Bo knows – dare I say it – football, and he knows it well.
So, atrocious Egg Bowl performance aside – which is likely where a lot of the anti-Bo sentiment comes from – there simply are not many good reasons to bench Wallace for anyone else. Rather, there are more than enough good reasons to start him and celebrate his role as this team’s leader, not the least of which are Bo Wallace’s abilities, experience, leadership traits, and potential to statistically cement himself among the Rebel greats.
Rebel fans, as difficult as this may be for some of us to understand or even accept, Bo Wallace will go down as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in Ole Miss football history. Instead of arguing against this, or even wishing it weren’t so, just enjoy his senior year as much as any reasonable fan should. If he can stay healthy, he’ll win games and keep Ole Miss competitive; what more could we ask for?
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #201 (published April 3, 2014). To download a PDF of this issue, click HERE.