There was no question who quarterback Bo Wallace’s favorite receiver was last season. Donte Moncrief caught 10 touchdown passes, which was nearly half of Wallace’s 22 touchdown tosses on the season.
Both return as juniors this year after connecting for five touchdowns in the final three games of last season, so they should be poised to be even better in 2013.
For example, while Wallace was able to throw 22 touchdowns, he also threw 17 interceptions. If the Ole Miss offense is going to take the next step this season, that number will need to go down.
With that said, Wallace appeared to have taken a step in the right direction on that front in last Thursday’s opener against Vanderbilt. He threw the ball 47 times without throwing an interception.
“He’s obviously making better decisions, both in the run game and the pass game,” offensive coordinator Dan Werner said of Wallace.
Werner wasn’t the only one complimentary of Wallace’s improvement, either.
“Bo is way better than what he was,” Moncrief said. “He’s grown up and learned what to do and what not to do. I hope he stays healthy so we can win a lot of games.”
On the other hand, while most of the talk surrounding the opening victory for the Rebels last Thursday was about the freshmen and in particular Laquon Treadwell, it was the threat of Moncrief that appeared to have the Commodores off balance in the second half.
“I told (Treadwell) before the game, ‘They’re probably going to double me, so you gotta win inside,’ and he came out and he won,” Moncrief said.
Moncrief added five catches for 56 yards, while being double teamed most of the night. That will likely be the case for most of the season. While that could be frustrating to some star receivers, Moncrief has found the positive in it.
“I just keep doing what I do, man,” he said. “That makes me feel like a better player when I can help get other players open.”
With all the big plays they have connected for and the time spent playing big roles for the Rebel offense, the star quarterback and receiver have built a bond. It’s safe to say they know each other forward and backward on the football field.
“Me and Bo have a great connection,” Moncrief said. “He knows when I’m going to win, and he knows when I’m double covered. He knows when there are two people on me, he can go to someone else.”
It’s not often you hear a star wide receiver get excited about his quarterback being able to throw to other receivers, but is clear that the team comes first to Moncrief. Furthermore, that strategy was effective in week one as Treadwell, in Moncrief’s shadow, caught nine passes for 82 yards on his way to being named SEC Freshman of the Week.
“We have a lot of confidence,” Moncrief said. “The running backs are playing well, the offensive line looks good, Bo’s putting the ball where it needs to be. And if he is doing that, we have to make plays for him.”
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