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September 11, 2012
From Orangebloods.com: Texas talks Ole Miss.
OXFORD, Miss. -- Bo Wallace has noticed the differences.
Southeastern Conference quarterbacks are pretty popular on their respective campuses and around their respective towns, and Wallace is no different.
With the Rebels at 2-0 and the sophomore signal caller leading Ole Miss to back-to-back games of 500-plus total yards, the spotlight is starting to shine a little brighter. But in an effort to keep distractions at a minimum, Wallace is mindful to avoid certain situations. He's staying around the IPF more and in the middle of town much less.
"It's 'good luck Bo' walking to class, but I'm not on the Square very often right now and that's definitely a good thing," Wallace said. "It's just students on campus saying 'good luck' and stuff like that. Just tell them you appreciate it and go about your day.
"Coach Freeze has told me to kind of stay out of it so that's definitely what I'm doing."
Wallace is currently the Rebels' leader in passing and rushing with 438 yards through the air and 135 yards on the ground. His 76 percent completion rate also has him as one of the nation's top 10 most efficient passers. The up-tempo, creative playcalling seems to fit his style and has quickly elevated his status.
Freeze thinks Wallace is handling the heightened publicity well.
"The last thing we want is him thinking he's a rock star, I assure you." Freeze said. "He doesn't need any more push to go that route. He actually is a very humble kid, but he's all boy and he can certainly find himself in some situations, I'm sure, that all young men can find themselves in. I hope he's getting it that to be the quarterback at Ole Miss carries with it that he's not a normal kid from Giles County, Tenn., anymore."
The attention could be days away from increasing by an immeasurable amount if Wallace can lead the Rebels to a win over No. 14 Texas, a school that Wallace says the media tried hard to link him to during recruitment.
After completing a national championship season at East Mississippi Community College, Wallace, who only had offers from Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech and UT-Martin out of high school, had several desirable destinations to choose from. However, he says Texas wasn't one of them. He had a couple conversations with the Longhorn coaching staff, but Texas was content with its current roster of quarterbacks.
And even if the Horns had made an offer, the chance to play in Oxford was likely too good to overlook.
"I think their media kind of blew it up more than there really was," Wallace said. "I've always wanted to be at Ole Miss. I don't know if they would have offered me if that would have changed. Obviously I always play with a chip on my shoulder and it will be the same against Texas as it is against Alabama and LSU."
Wallace had wanted to play for the Rebels since visiting Vaught-Hemingway during his freshman year of high school. That longtime goal and reuniting with Freeze, who was Wallace's offensive coordinator at Arkansas State in 2010, presented a near-perfect opportunity.
"I definitely always followed Ole Miss after that and luckily got a chance to play here," Wallace said. "It (also) was not having to learn a whole new playbook and terminology. I grew up playing here, so obviously it was something I couldn't pass up."
Texas poses a tough task on the field Saturday at 8:15 p.m., but the Rebels don't' think the fever pitch around Oxford will disrupt their preparations. They know the opportunity in front of them - for the present and the future. Wallace isn't worried about any angle regarding Texas. He's concerned with his team being ready for easily the most strenuous test to date.
"We know we could win this game and set ourselves up for the conference games and obviously with this game being on ESPN there will be a lot of recruits watching and there will be some here," Wallace said. "Obviously it's a big game to build our program and we definitely want to win."
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