Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson redshirt comes off: Four reasons why

Published 10:47 pm Friday, November 11, 2016

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze typically wears his thoughts and feelings on his sleeve. But he had to pretend to take the decision to play quarterback Shea Patterson this season or not into serious mode this week.

Texas A&M was watching, after all. Better to suggest running quarterback Jason Pellerin would be at the helm than giving Patterson’s emergence away too early.

Patterson is a pro-style quarterback, one of the most sought after recruits in the county. The plan was for him to redshirt this season, learning under Chad Kelly. But when Kelly went down with an injury this past Saturday Freeze was quiet on his plans, publicly.

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But Patterson taking the field was never really in doubt this week. Here are three key reasons why:

1) Hugh Freeze is paid to win football games, and a minor bowl game this season remains a possibility. Ole Miss’ odds of winning more than one game with Pellerin at the helm are slim. So leaving a talented quarterback like Patterson on the sideline with three big games to play doesn’t make a winning strategy. And Hugh Freeze wants to win.

2) Hugh Freeze is also paid to put fans in the stands, and the quickest way a coach can get on the hot seat is if ticket sales drop, even a little bit. The best way to deliver another sellout of season tickets for next year at Ole Miss is to give fans a taste of Shea Patterson this year.

3) The bulk of Ole Miss’ talent is at receiver positions and Freeze has built a pro-style offense. Without a quarterback to get the ball to those receivers nothing works.

4) If Patterson is as good at those who have seen him play say, then the odds that he would spend five seasons in an Ole Miss uniform are unlikely. He’s called a pro-style quarterback, after all. The pros can’t wait. So if Patterson won’t be around for five years anyway, why would Freeze sit him out the rest of the year when he needs a passing quarterback to lead a passing offense?

He wouldn’t. And that’s why Hugh Freeze is pulling the redshirt off Shea Patterson and playing him against Texas A&M.

David Magee is Publisher of The Oxford Eagle. He can be reached at david.magee@oxfordeagle.com.