Ole Miss’ plan for Shea Patterson ‘going exactly how we’d hoped it would’

Published 6:00 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

It’s looking more and more like Ole Miss fans will have to wait until next season to see their future quarterback.

Five-star signee Shea Patterson hasn’t played in the first five games, which included a 38-13 rout of FCS opponent Wofford in Week 2. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said after that game that the Rebels won’t pull the redshirt off Patterson just for him to play in mop-up duty.

With six of No. 14 Ole Miss’ final seven games coming against Southeastern Conference opponents, the redshirt may be staying on for good.

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“I sit down every week and have a conversation with him,” Freeze said. “We’re going to keep playing it week by week. I’m going to keep saying that every week.”

Ole Miss doesn’t exactly have a pressing need for Patterson this season with senior Chad Kelly putting up big numbers once again for the nation’s 21st-ranked scoring offense (41.6 points per game). A freshman has gotten snaps for the Rebels, but it’s been Jason Pellerin, the biggest quarterback on the roster at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds who’s been used mainly as a runner in jumbo packages the closer Ole Miss gets to the goal line.

With the 6-2, 200-pound Patterson likely taking over as the full-time signal caller next season, the conundrum Ole Miss finds itself in if he redshirts is possibly losing a year he would’ve had to play should Patterson, the nation’s top-ranked high school quarterback during the last recruiting cycle, turn out to be as good as advertised and leave for the NFL following his redshirt sophomore season. Players are eligible for the draft once they’re three years removed from high school.

But Freeze and his staff want to save as much of Patterson’s eligibility as possible just in case.

“We’ve talked obviously many times about what his role is and what he wants to do,” said offensive coordinator Dan Werner, who doubles as quarterbacks coach. “Basically it’s a conversation between me, coach Freeze and him, but the plan is going exactly how we’d hoped it would. In that regard, we’re happy with how it’s happened.”