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Wednesday Answer: One of Support

Wesley Hitt

Yesterday, I asked you all which Ole Miss quarterback you'd like to see start the season opener next season. The responses were varied, but I think they were all pretty much along the same lines. So far, Ryan Buchanan has appeared slightly more poised, yet Devante Kincade's third down scramble to pick up a first against Lousiana-Lafayette was very good.

I have to agree. When you couple Buchanan's success against Vanderbilt with Kincade's fumble in the same game, it seems like the limited sample size swings Buchanan's way pretty favorably. Kincade was successful against Louisiana-Lafayette, but not enough to swing the pendulum back onto his size. The obvious takeaway from the question is that it's really too early to know which player is better.

However, I do think there's more to it than that.

An underlying question is whether Freeze's offense needs a running quarterback to work. Obviously, it's tough to argue with what Bo has done in the last ten quarters of football, but would he be even better in the offense if he were a more able scrambler?

I think it's pretty obvious that the running game is still developing (to put it nicely), and Freeze's answer during his 2+ seasons at Ole Miss has been to implement a gameplan involving a secondary "quarterback" to be used for running. In his first season, it was Randall Mackey and Barry Brunetti. The next year, it was just Brunetti. So far this season, it's Jeremy Liggins. When the offense needs a yard, its best bet so far has been to put in a running quarterback, despite how predictable it generally is.

This leads me to believe that Freeze would love to have his primary quarterback be a strong runner. Bo showed as a sophomore that he was very capable in that area, but no one would call him a scrambling quarterback. I think that ideally, Freeze wants someone in the game who doesn't make his third and one or fourth and one calls predictable when he wants to run with his quarterback. He may have that in Devante Kincade, which makes him an intriguing player moving forward.

All this is to say that I'm taking the cop out answer as well. I think Freeze would prefer to see Kincade win the job because of what he brings on the ground, but he's not going to sacrifice the traditional role of a quarterback in order to get it. Kincade is very capable of playing at a high level mentally, and what little we've seen suggests he can get the ball out to playmakers. Buchanan appears to be ahead right now, but everything is highly speculative at the moment.