|Mississippi QB Jevan Snead takes his turn|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 07 August 2008 12:23|
His fellow students on the Mississippi campus talk about the Rebels' upcoming season with him during class. His teammates talk excitedly about the leadership role he's taken in the offseason.
And the Texas transfer even gets chatted up about his impending debut while shopping for groceries in Oxford.
``They just tell me pretty much how excited they are about this upcoming season and how ready they are,'' Snead said. ``I think the community is just as excited as they've been in a long while about this upcoming season.''
Snead doesn't shy away from those expectations. Aug. 30, when Ole Miss opens the season with Memphis, is the day he finally takes over a major college football team. It came two years later than he expected after he was beat out as a freshman by Colt McCoy at Texas, spurring his transfer. But Snead said he savors the opportunity just as much.
``I think things have definitely worked out for the best,'' Snead said. ``I believe everything happens for a reason, and I'm in a great situation right here and I'm just ready to take advantage of it.''
Houston Nutt plans to let him.
The coach - known for his overpowering running game with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at Arkansas the last two seasons - would like to open up the Ole Miss offense in his first season with the Rebels.
``You go with what your players do best,'' Nutt said. ``What we've seen so far with Jevan Snead and some of the receivers, we've got to rely on those folks and hope along the way we develop a strong running game to go with that.''
Snead came to Texas with the expectation of following a long line of top quarterbacks that most recently includes Vince Young, Major Applewhite and Chris Simms. It's hard to argue with the Longhorns' coaching staff's decision. McCoy has 20 wins and is the school's career leader in completion percentage and passer rating.
Snead saw significant playing time in one game his freshman season against Kansas State when McCoy was injured, but little more, finishing with 358 total yards and three touchdowns. That's not the kind of future Snead envisioned after passing and rushing for 7,595 yards and 100 touchdowns while going 23-2 in his final two seasons at Stephenville High School in Texas.
When he transferred to Ole Miss he became the heir apparent, but had to sit out a season that was difficult for the Rebels and included struggles at quarterback. Snead struggled, too, but in a different way.
``It was just extremely rough because I've never been in a situation like that where I go out there and practice and just give it up all week, then just have to sit in the stands,'' Snead said. ``It was a different experience.''
Snead launched himself into a leadership role the second he got off the scout team last fall and has been a calming influence for the team in the transition from former coach Ed Orgeron, fired after three seasons and 10 wins, to Nutt.
``Every morning when we work out in the weight room he's always the one that breaks the huddle, he's always the one that brings the team together,'' receiver Mike Wallace said. ``That's what he likes to do and I think that's what we need out of him too.''
Snead also has pushed everyone - not just skill players - to participate in daily voluntary passing drills and workouts.
``He's always talking, being vocal and just speaking out,'' strong safety Jamarca Sanford said. ``Like when a receiver doesn't catch the ball, he's going to get on him - 'You've got to catch that, we need that.' He'll tell the defensive and offensive lines, 'Come and get some extra work in if you have time.'''
Snead ran a no-huddle spread offense out of the shotgun in high school. He's spent time working on running the team from under center in college and believes he has the tools necessary to run Nutt's multifaceted scheme.
The sophomore has as much or more talent than any quarterback Nutt has coached and Nutt believes Snead, with his arm and accuracy, has the makeup necessary to excel in the Southeastern Conference.
``I'm excited about how he stands in that pocket,'' Nutt said. ``He doesn't flinch and he has escapability, and I think that's key in this league.
``You can tell why he was recruited so heavily out of high school, because of his strong arm and his athleticism.''