Rearview Mirror

Junior Ole Miss Quarterback Nathan Stanley has a different view on his football career and what's in front of him and the rest of the Rebel team. Read about it inside.

Nathan Stanley had a tough road last year.

After winning the quarterback job in spring training, he was faced with losing it to a newcomer - transfer Jermiah Masoli - essentially after one game of the 2010 season.

In a recent interview, he admitted it wasn't the easiest of times for him and that he might not have handled it the right way at the time.

"It was really tough, very hard. I was set back, I'm not going to lie," said the 6-5, 220-pound junior. "At this level, though, I realize now that comes with the job.

"Coach (Houston) Nutt went with what he thought was best for the team and I just had to go with it. It was hard and I could have handled it better than I did. I made some mistakes in the way I reacted."

Nathan said it crossed his mind to leave Ole Miss, but he never let that thought grow legs.

Stanley is eager to compete for the starting quarterback job
Courtesy: Chuck Rounsaville
"At the time, I was frustrated and didn't understand why that was happening to me, but I'm glad I didn't (leave). I made the right choice by staying," explained Stanley.

Now, all of that is the past, in the rearview mirror as far as Stanley is concerned.

"It changed me a lot. I have a different perspective now on job security," he chuckled. "It's behind me. It's over. I am moving forward. I'm looking ahead."

Stanley will jump back in the fray of competing for a job when spring training starts March 28th.

He knows it will be a challenge and highly competitive, this time around against three formidable teammates, including two brand new ones who just got here this semester.

"Zack Stoudt has a very strong arm and is accurate, Barry Brunetti has a strong arm and is athletic and we all know about Randall Mackey," he said. "I'm trying not to think about the competition much. Of course I think about it a little, but I'm more focused on what I need to work on.

"I need to improve a lot of things, all the basics of being a good quarterback - arm strength, accuracy. I tend to overstride when I throw and I'm trying to shorten my step."

The quarterbacks have been able to meet a little bit, as spring rapidly approaches, with new Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach David Lee.

"We've got some new terminology that is taking some getting used to, but we're coming along. I'm looking forward to running this offense," he noted. "We don't know a whole lot just yet. Some of it is the old stuff we have run here and some of it is completely new."

Stanley is also already seeing some influence of Wide Receivers Coach Gunter Brewer in the passing game.

"Coach Brewer is the real deal. He has a background of coaching some great receivers at Oklahoma State and he is definitely putting in some new schemes and a new approach to route-running," he continued. "I am definitely looking forward to working with him as well as Coach Lee in the passing game."

Stanley played in four games last year and started the opener. For the campaign, he was 17-32 with one interception and three touchdowns for 261 yards. His efficiency rating was a very good 146.32.

Stanley is looking to add weight this offseason
Courtesy: Matthew Sharpe
Now, it's back to the drawing board. The Rebs, and Nathan, are in the middle of the offseason leading up to spring training.

"I'm 220 now and hoping to put on five or six pounds more. I'm stronger than I've ever been and feeling good," Nate added. "This has been the hardest offseason since I have been here.

"We have a new mindset. There is more accountability around here. This is definitely a change. I can see more leadership developing this year. We have a bad taste in our mouths from last year and we're trying to get that out."

Stanley said the players - across the board - are accepting the "new" demands being placed on them.

"It's tough on all of us, but it's what we need right now. It's going to make us better in the long run. Everyone seems to have gotten their act together and are responding to the offseason schedule," Nate said. "The early morning (5:30 a.m.) stuff is hard, but it's holding us accountable and teaching everyone to do right."

Stanley does not know the coaches' plan yet on how the spring reps will be distributed, but he's anxious to get going.

"I don't know what the coaches are going to do in spring, but in my mind, I'm going out there to win the job," he closed. "I want to be the guy. I won it last year by taking it a day at a time and that will be what I do this spring. At the end of spring, I want to be number one."

One of the focal points of spring training will be the battle for the all-important quarterback slot.

How will it play out? Nathan Stanley doesn't know, but he's vowed to do his best to be in the mix.

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