Hugh Freeze pumping the breaks on Shea Patterson talk
With Ole Miss senior quarterback Chad Kelly done for the year with a knee injury, there has been some chatter that coach Hugh Freeze should hand over the offense to true freshman Shea Patterson, a former 5-star recruit.
But Freeze isn’t ready to make that move just yet, he indicated during his Monday news conference.
Freeze said Jason Pellerin will take the majority of the first-team snaps this week. Also looking at Pack, Engram, Liggins as emergency QB.
— Ben Garrett (@SpiritBen) November 7, 2016
Freeze said he wants to set Patterson up for success, reiterates that he's going to see if others could play QB before going with Patterson.
— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) November 7, 2016
Jason Pellerin, a redshirt freshman, took over against Georgia Southern after Kelly’s injury last Saturday. He went just 1-of-5 for 19 yards and interception while adding 29 rushing yards, but the Rebels held on to win 37-27 in Oxford.
Freeze is also evaluating wide receiver Markell Pack, tight end Evan Engram and offensive lineman Jeremy Liggins as “emergency” quarterbacks. Liggins is 310 pounds but has experience lining up as a Wildcat-style quarterback in short-yardage situations.
But many are clamoring for Patterson, the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class as rated by 247Sports’ composite rankings. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder of IMG Academy has long been expected to assume the starting quarterback role in 2017, and it appears Freeze doesn’t want to fast-track that plan.
More Freeze on Patterson: Have to balance what's best for team first, player second. #OleMiss
— Davis Potter (@DPotterOE) November 7, 2016
Freeze: Patterson decision can't be made out of emotion. #OleMiss
— Parrish Alford (@parrishalford) November 7, 2016
Playing Patterson now would mean burning his redshirt and costing him a year of eligibility down the road, which is something Freeze seems reluctant to do.
Freeze was asked again if he will pull the redshirt off of Shea Patterson: "It would be difficult to do that but nothing is ruled out yet."
— Courtney Asher Smith (@RebelWalkCAS) November 7, 2016
Ole Miss (4-5, 1-4) plays at No. 10 Texas A&M (7-2, 4-2) at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.