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August 11, 2012OXFORD, Miss. -- Give Hugh Freeze credit for his candidness.
After Ole Miss' first major scrimmage of fall camp, the first-year head coach didn't sugarcoat his quarterback race between sophomore Bo Wallace and junior Barry Brunetti. Inconsistent was clearly the word of the day.
"We had two days I felt really good about them (during the week), and today I didn't feel really good about either of them," Freeze said. "It started off bad and took a while from them to gain some composure. There were drops, but we're a long way from where we need to be at that position."
Wallace and Brunetti received an equal number of reps with the first team and second team offense and against the first team and second team defense. Wallace was 11-of-24 for 145 yards, and Brunetti was 12-of-25 for 94 yards. Each quarterback had two picks, and a third Brunetti interception was called off due to a penalty.
In limited action, Maikhail Miller was 2-of-4 for four yards.
"This is the first segment of camp still, and we have one more week of hard competition," Brunetti said. "It's a marathon, not a sprint. It's just what can I do to improve past this day. I'm not a freshman or sophomore. I am mature enough to put it behind me. I'm going to get better from today."
Despite the similar completion numbers, Wallace made a move during the middle of the scrimmage with his throws and composure and seemed to create some separation in the tight quarterback race, but his final two possessions ended in interceptions to spoil the morning scrimmage.
Nose tackle Gilbert Pena brought in an errant screen pass, and then Wallace threw wide of an open receiver, allowing safety Cody Prewitt to step in front of the ball and return it 40 yards.
"Those last two drives are going to be with me today," Wallace said. "I know on the first one I had him but threw it a little inside and then the other one it was fourth down and I was trying to make a play on a screen, trying to give him a chance and it was a lucky play by the lineman.
"I just rushed it. There was a seam up the middle when they rolled the safety down, and I knew I had it. It was too quick and no rhythm on the throw."
Freeze agreed with that assessment, also commenting on Brunetti's pass that was swiped in one-on-one coverage by Senquez Golson.
"The last one of Bo's was the absolute right read, but it was an awful ball - 10 yards off line," Freeze said. "Barry was the same way in the red zone. I liked the decision but threw it inside. Those two stand out in my mind."
Freeze and offensive coordinator Dan Werner stopped installing more of the offense earlier this week in an effort to refine what's already in the playbook. The quarterbacks say they are comfortable with the system but just have to up their performance moving forward.
"It takes stuff off your plate, but I have to be able to move the team and believe in whatever he gives me," Brunetti said. "The offense is a good one, and it's going to do well. You have to know what you're doing out there, so the less there is the better.
"Overall my day wasn't good and it was very unacceptable the way I played today. That's why we have these scrimmages. Don't get me wrong, the defense came out fired up and did pretty well, but they way I played was unacceptable. I have to watch film and not let it bring me down."
Freeze has consistently said both quarterbacks will see game action, and Wallace doesn't believe there has been any significant separation.
"Inconsistent, inconsistent," Wallace said. "I have great periods, and then I have an off period. It may just be one period a day where I'm not very good. I have to consistent every period and stay focused every practice, try to move the chains. I think we're both inconsistent. It's something I work on every day."
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