PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Ole Miss fans turned out in force at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pascagoula to hear Rebels head football coach Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss athletic director discuss the latest sports happenings in Oxford.
The most asked question following spring football drills is who has the edge in taking over the starting quarterback duties following the graduation of three-year veteran Bo Wallace? Will it be Chad Kelly, Ryan Buchanan or DeVante Kincade? Coach Freeze gives a slight edge to Buchanan, but the No. 1 job remains up for grabs.
Freeze said, "The gap is so small and the fact is Chad only had 15 practices with us. Those other guys have had two years and I thought Kincade made up ground on whoever the leaders are. In the spring game Kincade probably had the best day. It's going to go well into fall camp, if not, the first part of the season."
Chad Kelly guided East Mississippi to the NJCAA National Title and at 6-3, 220 pounds, he has the ability to win the starting job. Freeze says he a competitor, has very god arm strength and has a great football IQ. Freeze says all three quarterbacks are being evaluated not only for what they did on the football field but how they deal with off the field issues and the leadership that comes with that position.
Kelly has a history of off the field issues and must keep his head on straight. If he can do that, the nephew of former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, has what it takes to lead Ole Miss offensively.
As far as the running game, Freeze says the offensive line has suffered so many injuries since he took over the Rebels head coaching duties three years ago. If they can come together and stay healthy that will help in developing a ground attack.
"We were without six scholarship linemen in spring ball and were without four at the end of the season last year and that takes a toll on you, "stated Freeze.
He said he believes running back Jaylen Walton has the ability to break off big plays and he's looking forward in seeing freshman running back Eric Swinney. He was one of the nation's best high school backs.
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, who recently signed an extension of his contract, is amazed at the job Freeze has done in Oxford after only three seasons.
"Coach Freeze has really taken our program to new heights, "stated Bjork. "Both nationally and with our band in recruiting. Obviously being there late in the season with a chance to be in the hunt for the College Football Playoff in only the third year means that we're on the right track."
Bjork says at this time there are no plans in scheduling football games with Southern Miss but he has been in discussion with Southern Miss in possibly playing basketball against the Golden Eagles.