Schaeffer, the former Tennessee starter, was named the Rebels' starting quarterback on signing day and didn't arrive on campus until the day before preseason camp started. He was finishing academic work at the College of the Sequoias.
But Schaeffer has quickly earned the respect of the Ole Miss coaches and players.
"I was surprised how well he understands defenses and coverages and knows his reads and knows how to look off defenders and things like that," Ole Miss offensive coordinator Dan Werner told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. "It's one thing to be an athlete, run around and make plays. He actually is reading defenses and doing what it takes to be a good quarterback."
Schaeffer wasn't surprised how quickly he was able to get acclimated to the offense.
"It has been smooth," Schaeffer told the paper. "I expected it. I wasn't worried about learning the playbook. I never had a problem learning the playbook, even as a freshman coming from high school. At Tennessee, I learned the playbook in two days, basically. ... I'm a pretty quick learner."
Still, though, Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron said a greater burden would be placed early in the season on running backs BenJarvus Green and Mico McSwain.
"BenJarvus is going to have to carry the load for us, along with Mico," Orgeron said. "(We) have to be able to run the ball, obviously."
Auburn's Steve Gandy was one of several Tigers to make a position switch in the offseason, moving from safety to linebacker.
But Gandy won't be playing Saturday when the Tigers open their season against Washington State. Gandy (thigh injury) and Tyronne Green (cramps) will miss the opener.
Six other Tigers switched positions since last season, most notably Will Herring, who moved to linebacker after starting for three seasons at free safety.
Linemen who are ready to start as true freshmen are rare.
Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith is scheduled to start for the Crimson Tide on Saturday against Hawaii.
Smith was Alabama's Mr. Football last season, becoming the only offensive lineman to win the Alabama Sports Writers' Association award in it's 23-year history.
Smith would become the ninth true freshman to start in Alabama's season opener since 1972.
Since preseason practice began, Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer has rewarded six Volunteers' non-scholarship players with scholarships.
Tailback David Yancey, defensive tackle Matt McGlothlin, deep snapper Ryan West, wide receiver Stanley Asumnu, center Michael Frogg and defensive back Ben Greene were the recipients.
Frogg and McGlothlin and expected to start for the Vols on Saturday against Cal. Asumnu, a senior, joined the football team after lettering for four years for the Tennessee basketball team.
Highly touted defensive tackle Jerrell Powe, who signed with Ole Miss, was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse earlier this week. ... Vanderbilt has not played a Big Ten opponent since 1979, when it lost 44-13 to Indiana. ... Three of LSU's top four scoring games came against Louisiana-Lafayette (formerly known as Southwestern Louisiana). ... Ole Miss will retire Chucky Mullins' No. 38 jersey Sunday. ... Auburn recently promoted redshirt freshman Sen'Derrick Marks to first-team defensive tackle, although defensive line coach Don Dunn said sophomore Pat Simscould still start Saturday.
Schaeffer Learning Quick For Rebs
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