Brent Schaeffer -

The ole Miss-Auburn game was not what anyone, including Rebel QB Brent Schaeffer, would call an offensive masterpiece, but considering the level of competition, it was an improvement across the board, including under center. Read what the talented Reb QB had to say inside.

Ole Miss Quarterback Brent Schaeffer was informed by the media yesterday that Coach Ed Orgeron called Brent's performance against Auburn "his best yet."

According to Orgeron, it wasn't the "average" statistics of 8-16 for 161 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. It was that Schaeffer had been more of a field general than he had been in the previous eight games.

"I could see him wanting to be a leader, wanting to compete and wanting to make plays," noted Orgeron. "It was his competitive attitude I liked."

For his part, Schaeffer did his usual - downplaying his role and crediting the cast around him. He rarely uses the word "I" when answering questions, even those asked directly about his individual performance.

"We came out fast, better than we have in the past. In the previous eight games, we had gotten no points on our first drives. 0-8 - we wanted to change that," said the soft-spoken Schaeffer. "We started the Auburn game on a good note by driving down the field and getting a touchdown on our first possession.

"That was very, very important. Sometimes how you start can be the deciding factor for the emotions of your team for the whole game. If the defense goes out and gets a turnover to start the game, that's a huge boost to the team. Same thing when the offense goes out and scores a TD on their first possession. It sets the tone."

Schaeffer - to go with the play-calling of Dan Werner and his offensive staff - put together the Rebs' best drive of the year, replete with a big completion to TE/FB Robert Lane and a 27-yard TD run by Mico McSwain on a reverse.

"It clicked. We've been working so hard and waiting on that to happen for so long. When it clicked, it felt easy," Brent continued. "We all knew we were capable of that kind of drive. It was just a matter of fixing some minor things and keeping our heads up.

"Our offense has not been as smooth as any of us want it to be, but when we have all been on the same page, like that drive, people can see what we are capable of."

Schaeffer said he's gaining more comfort in the offense, and again he deflects whatever credit is due.

"Coach Werner has spent a lot of time with me trying to help me get more comfortable running his offense," Brent stated. "It's finally starting to pay off in terms of my knowing what to do and when.

"I'm understanding the reads and progressions better and what my role is in the offense more specifically. I think we are all getting more comfortable and getting more in synch. We aren't there yet, but we are getting there."

Schaeffer believes in his supporting cast.

"When we have everyone healthy, we have good playmakers. We got Robert (Lane) back before the Auburn game and he made some big plays," Schaeffer noted. "He's a big option for us. He's a good athlete, he's smart and he knows what's going on out there. Anytime you can get him the football, it's a big plus. He's also one of our leaders and a guy who has played QB on this level. He's been a big help to me, personally.

"Then we have a great running back in BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Ben is a physical, tough guy who gets everything out of a play, and more. What a lot of people don't know about Ben is that he's very good in pass protection too. He takes on 300-pounders all the time - and wins. I like him watching my back. He's had a beat up shoulder all year and has continued to play. He's extremely tough.

"Our offensive line has gotten better and better every week. They are giving the backs holes to run through and are protecting long enough for us to have the opportunity to make plays downfield. Our wide receivers are also starting to make more plays, even though Dexter (McCluster) has been out. Then you take guys like Mico and Bruce (Hall) coming off the bench - we've got enough playmakers. When Ben is a little banged up, we know we don't have to push him to the limits because Bruce and Mico can do the job too. We just have to get on the same page and develop more consistency within the offense and individually.

"Bruce gave us a big boost Saturday. He's a guy who is physical, tough and a prototype SEC back who can run inside for the tough yards or accelerate on the outside."

Brent understands the consistency part hinges a lot on him.

"There's no doubt I have to get more consistent. I can feel some things starting to work and my comfort level is higher than it's been, but I'm still leaving too many plays out there that should be made starting with a good throw on my part," he assessed.

Schaeffer doesn't believe in looking ahead, and it's not just lip service. He understands the danger of this Saturday's opponent, Northwestern State.

"If we were undefeated or something, we might be able to cruise by a team or two during the year, but we are 2-7. Northwestern State is going to come in here fired up because they will believe they have a shot at knocking off an SEC team," Brent added. "We better prepare for them like we did for Auburn or Alabama or Georgia. 2-7 teams can't afford to drop their guard.

"We've only got three more games this season. We aren't bowl eligible. What we have to hang our hats on is making a statement our last few games and setting ourselves up for better things next season."

Schaeffer will be a big part in both equations - the now and the future. He knows his role.

"I've got to lead this offense to more points to help the team win," he closed. "We're going to get it done."

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