Jason Pellerin or Shea Patterson?
That’s the decision that Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze must make this week following the news that quarterback Chad Kelly will miss the rest of the 2016 season after tearing his ACL and meniscus against Georgia Southern last weekend.
With reporters focusing on the Ole Miss quarterback situation during Wednesday’s SEC teleconference, Freeze was still not ready to name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Texas A&M.
“We are fixing to go to another meeting and look at how practice went yesterday and just see how we think what kind of game plan could be effective and how that looks,” Freeze said. “We have confidence in Jason [Pellerin]. I thought he played really well last week. You just want to do the right thing for your team, and it’s still probably Thursday to Friday until we make that decision.”
Pellerin, a redshirt freshman, has taken most of the first-team reps this week and completed one pass for 19 yards and an interception against Georgia Southern following Kelly’s exit.
On the season, Pellerin has appeared in six games while connecting on 38.5 percent of his throws for 53 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. He also added 25 rush attempts, 96 yards and three touchdowns on the year.
“Sunday is more for us a fundamental ball security, red zone type drills. He looks fine with that because you are not really going against scout looks,” Freeze said of Pellerin. Yesterday was really the first. There’s definitely things that he has a very good understanding of and feels comfortable with. And then there’s other things you can tell he’s not as comfortable with.
“The decision we have to get him to make is do we continue try and help him. It’s essential to our chances of winning the football game to continue to try to use reps to try and try and get him comfortable in those things he’s not or go with what he is comfortable. It would be unrealistic to expect him to understand everything quite like Chad did.”
Patterson, on the other hand, came to Oxford as the nation’s No. 1 pro-style quarterback, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He has yet to play a game this season, and seeing action in Saturday’s contest would eliminate the possibility of the star-studded freshman earning a redshirt this season.
Will Patterson’s debut come on Saturday?
That remains to be seen, but whichever player takes the field on Saturday will be replacing a quarterback who threw for 2,758 yards and 19 touchdowns this season. The signal caller will also be tasked with trying to lead Ole Miss to at least two more victories and bowl eligibility.
The Rebels must still hold contests against Texas A&M, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State this season.