Ole Miss quarterback Ryan Buchanan is one of three players vying for the starting position. Coach Hugh Freeze, who still has not named a starter, said the leading candidate has handled the pressure from blitzes the best so far in camp.OXFORD – Before Tuesday, Hugh Freeze stuck to the same script.When fielding countless questions regarding Ole Miss’ ongoing quarterback competition, the Rebels’ headman rolled out the same answer like clockwork: All three — Ryan Buchanan, Chad Kelly and DeVante Kincade — have their days where they look the best.At the conclusion of preseason practice No. 12, the answer changed.“I kind of have in my mind who’s the leader right now,” Freeze said.The next step in unraveling Ole Miss’ quarterback battle will be getting Freeze to name who that emerging player is, as he wasn’t ready to divulge that information Tuesday.But the big reveal may be coming sooner than previously expected.At SEC Media Days and several times during spring camp, Freeze said he expected to take the competition into the first two weeks of the season, using the openers against Tennessee-Martin and Fresno State to gauge who he should turn the keys over to for Week 3’s trip to Alabama.That plan could be changing. For the first time Freeze entertained the idea of naming a starter before the first game of the season on Sept. 5.“I don’t know. Right now I would say at earliest (I would name the starter) would be game week,” Freeze said.After spring practice, Freeze said Buchanan had a “slight edge” in the battle to be named the starter. The sophomore isn’t known for his athleticism, but impressed with his knowledge of the system and relatively mistake-free play.Referring to the newfound frontrunner on Tuesday only as “he,” Freeze said “he” has separated himself from the others with how he’s handled blitzes during fall camp.“Over the course of 12 practices, he’s handled blitzes much better. That may be the ultimate (factor),” Freeze said. “That’s one of the top things you have to look at in a quarterback is how does he handle that?“Is that a time that the ball comes out carelessly or a time that you’re setting the protections right and getting yourself protected to throw, standing in there taking a hit, taking care of the ball obviously and being efficient in moving the chains. Twelve practices I think I know who’s done that better. I watch closely on the field.”Coaches have been charting every throw the quarterbacks make this summer.Freeze said he had Tuesday’s practice “circled” since the start of camp, as the Rebels put an emphasis on being very physical during live team work.“We got a lot of great work in. We’ll see if what I’m feeling inside continues over the course of camp leading up to Game 1 to be verified or invalidated by practices,” Freeze said. “Today … wasn’t quite enough validation for me to say I’m all the way there yet.”Contact Riley Blevins at [email protected] Follow @Riley_Blevins on Twitter.