Jevan Snead sat in the stands last season and watched his Rebel teammates suffer.
He didn't like it.
"It was tough sitting there knowing there was nothing I could do to help," sid Snead, who met the media Thursday as spring training 2008 quickly approaches. "It was frustrating. It was harder than I thought it would be."
All Jevan could do was run the scout teanm offense during the week and suffer in silence on Saturdays as the Rebels lost game after game.
But that's all behind him now. He's paid his dues - sitting out a year after his transfer to Ole Miss from Texas via NCAA transfer rules - and now, after minor offseason knee surery to clean up an old meniscus injury, he's fired up about finally being able to "really help" his team win football games.
"My knee is fine. It's doing great. I have been rehabbing hard. Running in the pool and running some on the field. It's not 100% yet - not quite - but it will be by spring training," Snead noted. "I'm getting there."
Jevan has not had any contact with new Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin, but he's anxious to meet him.
"I want to pick his brain and and get in tune with him. I'm anxious to learn what we are going to do offensively, but I have had several conversations with Coach (Houston) Nutt and I am excited about the plans he has for the offense.
"Coach Nutt is going to run some pro style offense, but he's also going to spread it out and wing it. We are going to go deep and we are going to throw the ball, but we're also going to have balance, which will be good for the run game and the passing game. I am pleased that Coach Austin likes to open it up some too, coming from Canada. That's great for me because that is what I am used to, but I understand the value of running the ball as well."
There were a lot of rumors floating around about Snead after Nutt was hired, but he said none of them were true.
"I was never going anywhere. This is my team, this is my home. I am at Ole Miss and I like it here. When Coach Nutt was hired, I wasn't sure what he was going to do on offense, but after talking to him I realized the reason they ran the ball so much at Arkansas is that they had such great running backs - why wouldn't you run it," he explained. "Any fears I had about the offense disappeared when I talked to Coach Nutt. I am very excited about it. I am very glad Houston Nutt is our coach - I couldn't be happier, in fact."
"We are going to establish a run game and we are going to spread the field and hit some home runs with some deep balls. That's exciting to me and good for me."
There were also false rumors going around that Mitch Mustain, who transferred from Arkansas after his freshman year, had called Jevan about Nutt.
"I don't know how that got started, but I have never talked to Mitch at all," he continued.
Snead has visited with Nutt "four or five times" since Houston was hired.
"I don't know a lot about him, but he seems like a great guy, a guy you want to play for. I know he'll be a great coach for us," Snead stated.
While Snead could not help the Rebels last year, he feels like he helped himself.
"Sitting out helped me mature as a person and a player. I dealt with some adversity. I also feel like I learned a lot about reading defenses and playing the position on this level," he noted.
Jevan understands he is the subject of a lot of expectations from the fans, but he said he can't let that bother him too much.
"It's flattering, but I'm not going to pay too much attention to it," Snead said. "I'm jsut going to work hard and do my best for the team. I want to do great for the fans, but it's more about the team and working hard for them so we can succeed."
Yesterday, Snead received good news, as did the whole Rebel team, when Left Tackle Michael Oher changed his mind and decided to come back for his senior year after saying he was going to the NFL.
"I promsie you, nobody was happier than me about Michael being here another year. I had a big smile on my face and I had a sigh of relief. I know I won't have to worry about being protected because most of the OL are coming back," Jevan explained. "You can't get much done on offense if the quarterback is running for his life. With Micheal and the others coming back, I won't have to worry about that. Not hving to worry about getting killed is a great thing."
Jevan said he's been able to keep a low profile - for the most part - since his arrival, but he expects that to change when fall rolls around.
"I was at the basketball game last night and a guy walked by me with a number 4 jersey (his number) and he didn't recognize me," he laughed. "I don't get bugged too much. Sometimes people will ask if we are going bowling next year and my answer is 'yes, of course.'"
One of the biggest adjustments he wants to make this spring is getting more comfortable with his drops.
"I've been in the gun my whole career, so I need work on my dropbacks, but I've been doing that," he said. "I also want to get in better shape and get stronger.
"I've been a year without playing a game, and it was a tough year. I thought it was going to be relaxing, but it wasn't. Like I said, I couldn't help my team. Sitting out was not fun."
Snead was impressed with the recent team meeting the new coaching staff help.
"The main message I got was that if you are going to be champions, you have to act like champions and take care of your business," Jevan stated. "It was a great environment. I think we are going to have a lot of fun and we are going to be a good football team. You get a good feeling with this staff."
Snead watched the other quarterbacks in the SEC from the stands this year. How does he feel he stacks up?
"I haven't done anything to prove myself yet, but I really feel that once I get out on the field I will be able to play with the best in the league," he said. "That is what I am looking forward to and that is my goal. If I can do that, I will be happy because there are great QBs in the SEC. I'm excited to match skills with them."
And Rebel fans will be excited to see Jevan under center. The wait has been long, but odds are that it will be worth it.
Snead anxious to get going
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