Ole Miss

With no Chad Kelly, Ole Miss juggling options at QB

Ole Miss quarterback Jason Pellerin (7) hands the ball off to running back Akeem Judd (21) during the second half against Georgia Southern in Oxford Saturday.
Ole Miss quarterback Jason Pellerin (7) hands the ball off to running back Akeem Judd (21) during the second half against Georgia Southern in Oxford Saturday. Associated Press

OXFORD – The only certainly for the Ole Miss quarterback situation as the Rebels travel to face No. 10 Texas A&M is that Chad Kelly will not play.

After that it could be wide receiver Markell Pack, tight end Evan Engram or offensive tackle Jeremy Liggins.

It could very well be redshirt freshman Jason Pellerin who actually signed to play the position.

It could also be freshman Shea Patterson, the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class.

Freeze earlier danced around the question as to whether Patterson would play this season, but as dates and games clicked off the calendar he’s worked hard to redshirt him.

Then Kelly, the SEC’s leader in passing yards, sustained a torn ACL after rallying Ole Miss to a 37-27 win over Georgia Southern.

Freeze says Pellerin -- who is 5-for-13 passing for 53 yards, three interceptions and two touchdowns this season – will get the majority of first-team reps this week.

A decision on Patterson cannot be made with emotion, Freeze said.

“I would rule out nothing at this point.”

Freeze said he doesn’t want to rush a decision on Patterson’s status, but he doesn’t have a lot of time if he wants to give Patterson meaningful practice time and if he intends to prepare any of the non-quarterback names he mentioned.

Engram at quarterback would subtract the Rebels’ leading pass-catcher. Pack has appeared in nine games and has eight catches. Liggins, suspended earlier this season, has one brief appearance against Memphis.

Freeze referenced Kentucky’s 10-7 win over Tennessee in 2011 in which the Wildcats used wide receiver Matt Roark behind center.

Engram, who played some quarterback in high school, describes himself as mobile.

“I think I’m more of a runner,” he said. “When things break down I can get outside and run around, make plays with my feet.”

Still, he says he’s rather not have to wonder where Texas A&M end Myles Garrett is.

“I’d definitely rather block him,” Engram said.

The big five: Kelly became the Rebels’ fifth season-ending injury this season. The list includes CB Kendarius Webster, RB Eric Swinney, WR DK Metcalf, DL John Youngblood and Kelly. Also out for the year is junior Jordan Wilkins because of an administrative error related to academics.

More injury news: Offensive linemen Rod Taylor, Sean Rawlings and Robert Conyers are all listed as questionable this week, as is wide receiver Van Jefferson, who sustained a hip-pointer against Georgia Southern.

Performance Indicators: Freeze said his offense hit on five of seven performance indicators Saturday. He praised the play of defensive tackle Benito Jones and said his backup, Breeland Speaks, had his best game of the year. He would like to see his defense give up fewer explosive plays. Had Ole Miss not allowed a 68-yard touchdown run it would have held its opponent to fewer than 200 rushing yards for only the third time this year.

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