The biggest position battle for Ole Miss is at the quarterback position. Redshirt junior Randall Mackey, sophomore Barry Brunetti, a transfer from West Virginia, and junior college transfer Zack Stoudt are battling to earn the starting slot.
Brunetti appears to have the lead in the race to earn the starting nod and impressed in the spring game, completing 12 of 21 passes for 211 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had seven carries for 37 yards. He is the only one of the three to take a division one snap, playing in two games last season for West Virginia. Both appearances were in mop-up duty, but he was 4 for 9 on passing attempts for six yards.
Brunetti’s main task this offseason and through fall practice will be getting acquainted with the playbook and building a solid relationship with his receivers.
Redshirt junior Randall Mackey signed with Ole Miss in 2008, but had to spend two seasons at East Mississippi Community College, where he was a first-team junior college All-American in 2009.
Mackey is a true dual-threat quarterback, possessing good speed and an incredibly strong arm. He also played well in the spring game, completing 9 of 18 passes for 151 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
His main issue has been consistency as he started off spring practice playing really well, but struggled toward the end of the two weeks.
Mackey has a leg up on the other two quarterbacks in terms of relationships with receivers and knowledge of the playbook, but will have to improve his reads as fall practice approaches.
The third quarterback competing for the job is Zack Stoudt, who signed with Ole Miss after playing junior college ball at Iowa Western Community College. Stoudt missed the spring game due to academic issues, putting him a little behind Brunetti and Mackey going into fall practice. He’s a pure pocket passer and possesses a strong arm and good accuracy.
With fall practice only a couple weeks away, the Ole Miss quarterback battle will certainly draw the majority of interest among fans.
To recap, the Rebels have a true dual-threat option in Randall Mackey, another quarterback who can run some in Barry Brunetti and a pocket passer in Zack Stoudt, so there are a multiple of quarterback styles to choose from to fit into the offense under Houston Nutt and new offensive coordinator David Lee.