OXFORD, Miss. – While a defense with big questions at linebacker and safety tries to find its way, Ole Miss is going to have to rely on a potentially explosive offense.
For the Rebels, then, it’s good to see Shea Patterson having a good camp.
New offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Phil Longo says Patterson retained what he learned of the offense in the spring and continues to build on that.
“Shea’s been Shea,” Longo said. “Shea has, impressively to me, just every day been getting 24 hours better. That’s all I can ask of him right now.”
Patterson was the nation’s top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2016 signing class. He would have reached this point in his journey as a redshirt freshman with no experience if not for an injury to Chad Kelly last November.
Patterson started the last three games. The Rebels went 1-2, but Patterson did some good things individually, including leading a win at Texas A&M in his college debut.
Longo will ask a lot more soon out of Patterson as the Rebels open the season September 2 against South Alabama, a Sun Belt foe that knocked off Mississippi State in Starkville last season.
Patterson threw for 880 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions last season. His 54.5 completion percentage should increase, coaches say, with better chemistry and rapport with receivers than he experienced in his bold new world last November.
He also showed his athleticism in his three starts, extending plays and rushing for 169 yards.
“The other challenge with him is to just stay within the offense and let his athletic ability be the asset at the end of a bad play instead of trying to do it all himself,” Longo said. “I’ve said this a hundred times. Now I think he’s done that, and I’m happy with his progress so far.”
(You can follow Parrish Alford on Twitter @parrishalford)
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