With Shea Patterson done for the year the Ole Miss quarterback job belongs to Jordan Ta’amu.
Rebels coach Matt Luke, though, was able to make a position switch to put a little more experience behind his junior college transfer.
Jason Pellerin, a four-star recruit as a high school quarterback, is listed No. 2 on the depth chart this week as he moves back to his natural position. The Rebels (3-4, 1-3 SEC) are at home against Arkansas (2-5, 0-4 SEC) Saturday at 11 a.m.
Pellerin moved to what offensive coordinator Phil Longo calls the H back position during spring drills. He hasn’t gotten on the field much beyond special teams play, however.
Luke made it clear that Pellerin will not be competing for the starting position.
“We’ll bring Jason in to be the backup in case of injury,” he said. “He’ll get all the 2 reps, and Jordan will get on the 1 reps.”
Right now Pellerin is the most experienced quarterback on the roster. He played most of the second half of the Georgia Southern game last year after starter Chad Kelly sustained a torn ACL.
In addition to that relief appearance Pellerin saw action in a number of games as a short-yardage quarterback with emphasis on running. He appeared in nine games last year and rushed 29 times for 90 yards and three touchdowns. He was 11 of 22 passing for 104 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Running is a big part of Ta’amu’s skill set, but Pellerin, at 6-foot-4, 237 pounds, is a much more physical player.
“I don’t think there will be much rust for him as the run game goes,” Luke said. “We’ll have to have some different packages, some wildcat stuff, but it won’t be anything new. The pass concepts, the timing ... those will be the biggest challenges for him.”
Center Sean Rawlings will go through concussion protocol this week, and running back Jordan Wilkins is being treated for an ankle sprain. Both players are questionable for the game. Defensively, tackle Ross Donelly (knee) and defensive back C.J. Moore (calf) are also questionable. Reserve linebacker Jarrion Street returns after sitting out after missing the LSU game with an injury.
Can’t lose the one-on-ones
The inability of Ole Miss wide receivers to win single-coverage matchups early had a dramatic impact on the LSU game, Longo said.
“I think a couple of those catches early in the game could have helped us get in a rhythm and create some momentum. We were banking on our guys to make a few of those,” Longo said.
A.J. Brown and DaMarkus Lodge both drops in the first quarter that helped stall drives. LSU defensive backs did a good job of getting their hands in the catch windows, Longo said.
Common Struggles: Ole Miss and Arkansas are a combined 1-7 in SEC play, the Rebels’ 57-35 win over Vanderbilt on Oct. 14 being the lone win. Both teams were blown out by both Alabama and Auburn. The Razorbacks lost 41-9 at Alabama and 52-20 at home against Auburn. Arkansas leads the series 34-28-1.