War Eagle Extra

SEC media days: Bo Wallace yearns for injury-free season, wants to prove third-team selection wrong

HOOVER, Ala.Bo Wallace isn’t asking for much this fall.

All he wants is an-injury free season. Entering his third year as Ole Miss’ starting quarterback, he has yet to miss a game. But nearly every one of those 26 starts had the senior signal-caller playing at less than 100 percent.

Blame a hit that occurred in his first month in Oxford, Miss., for that.

After countless hours of rehab, he believes he enters the 2014 campaign at near-optimum health.

And to prevent any recurring issues, he now has a strict workout regimen picked up earlier this summer during a trip to California.

“I went out there for a week and brought back a bunch of drills and a bunch of tape from Tom House,” Wallace said at SEC media days on Thursday. “We’ve been doing that with one of our assistant strength coaches and I’m with him every day. We’ve done (the drills) every day, so I feel good about it.”

Almost as good as those around him feel about the progress they said they have witnessed.

Just ask C.J. Johnson. The junior defensive end said it hasn’t been difficult to see how much difference a healthy Wallace can make.

Watching a practice is proof enough.

“You can tell watching him in seven-on-seven drills, he’s putting more zip on the ball,” Johnson said. “His deep ball accuracy has (improved), so there are a lot of aspects of his game as far as throwing the football that have really changed now that he has his arm strength back.”

Hugh Freeze has noticed as well.

“I think he's matured quite nicely in the way he leads our team, the way he goes about our business,” Ole Miss’ coach said. “He finally feels healthy and confident. I really think he's at a point where he certainly has every avenue right now to step in and be one of the (top) guys in this conference.”

Which is exactly how Wallace views himself. In terms of returning conference quarterbacks, none can match Wallace’s resume. No SEC signal-caller has thrown for more yards (6,340), completed more passes (518) or tossed more touchdowns (40).

Yet when media members released their preseason All-SEC teams Thursday morning, Wallace found himself behind two players who weren’t even starters at their school at this time last year: Auburn’s Nick Marshall was named to the first-team and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott took second-team honors.

Being deemed a third-team performer didn’t sit well with Wallace.

“I didn’t think I would be (first-team). I thought Nick Marshall would be first with the way he led them to a national championship. You can’t argue against that,” he said. “But I didn’t think I was going to be third.”

Consider it merely another subplot to the annual contest versus bitter in-state rival Mississippi State.

“It just adds another chip to my shoulder that I play with anyway,” Wallace said. “I’m ready for the year and I’m ready for that game (the Egg Bowl).”