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August 27, 2012

Quarterbacks focused on indiviual performances

OXFORD, Miss. -- Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has maintained throughout fall practice that both Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti will get game snaps to determine the leader at quarterback.

The first-year coach continued that stance on Monday, but Wallace hopes to make the decision to play him as easy as possible. Wallace wants a perfect scoring percentage.

"I've thought about it, and if I'm named the starter, I plan to score on every drive," Wallace said. "That's important to not be taken out of the game because if you're scoring on every drive, then they're probably not going to take you out. That's my focus."

Both will play against Central Arkansas, and Freeze said he'd likely decide on Wednesday who will get the first series on Saturday. The coaching staff has labeled both Wallace and Brunetti as inconsistent but improving during fall camp. There are certain things that will dictate the starter as the season moves along.

"Protect the football, keep on schedule and maintain tempo while producing on drives," Freeze said. Going into the game it's co-ones. I don't get caught up in depth charts. I want to know who can play."

Both quarterbacks can agree on the objective: Put the ball in the end zone and win the game. There's no public rivalry or visible animosity. It's about getting better daily and preparing the offense. The scoreboard will read Ole Miss and Central Arkansas, not Brunetti and Wallace.

"My competition is not Bo Saturday," Brunetti said. "My competition is Central Arkansas, and that's what I'm worried about. I'm not worried about he does. I just want to go out there and worry about what I can do, how I can lead this team down the field and score.

"We're still cool. We're still the same. No ememies or anything. Like I said, we're just two competitive guys trying to get this job. It's a very big job and we're two real competitive guys. We're very similar in a lot of ways, not only on the field but off the field. We're still cool dudes."

Both are anxious for the opportunity that Saturday brings. Wallace expects butterflies, the same ones that have been with him before games since high school. They'll go away once the ball is kicked off, but there's some extra adrenaline considering the stage.

"There's more anxiety playing for a school like this," Wallace said. "The stadium and everything increases it all, but you'll calm down. Once you start, it's football, the game you've played your whole life."

Brunetti has had good and bad days - like Wallace - throughout th past month, so he's grateful for the clean slate heading into the opener. No one has secured the job during practice, so it's about what happens in games.

For an improviser like Brunetti, who started two games last season, he'd want it no other way.

"To me, I feel like I'm a different guy when we get under the lights," Brunetti said. "It's different when you're live. I feel like I can show my talents more when we're live, not just with my arm but with my legs. It's not just about blow a whistle with me anymore."


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