For over a year, the anticipation of the coming out party of Ole Miss Quarterback Jevan Snead grew steadily.
In the opening game against Memphis, Snead was workmanlike and effective, but he did not really deliver much fireworks, as he admitted.
Basically, a lot of QBS could have done a lot of what he did against the Tigers.
After that outing, Snead said he'd be more relaxed the next time out and would play better.
He came through on that proclamation, spinning a 20-31 effort for 253 yards and four touchdowns against Number 20 Wake Forest, who boasted of seven fifth-year seniors on their starting defense, in their house.
That showing left Coach Houston Nutt gushing with praise.
"He played brilliantly. He's going to be real special in the next six or seven weeks," Nutt said. "This is definitely Jevan's offense now."
Snead, however, was a bit more analytical and subdued about his performance. Proud, but not overly satisfied. He brought up his lone interception more than once in his eval of his game.
"I gave it my best effort. I played as hard as I could," said Snead Monday, "but I left some big plays out there and made a few mistakes, the interception being one of the big ones.
"After the game, I was not happy at all. After watching the film, I didn't play as badly as I originally thought I did."
Apparently, Snead is his own worst critic. The great ones usually are. . .he's the only person on the planet who even considered he played "badly."
Jevan believes the team can take some good things from the loss, as painful as it was.
"You can take something from every game, win or lose. Sometimes, you can get more out of a loss in terms of moving forward and growing as a player. You can see what you did wrong and really concentrate on fixing those things so they don't happen again," he continued.
One difference from the Memphis game through the Wake Forest game was his comfort zone rose.
"I felt pretty comfortable against Wake Forest. I got more and more settled in, I got more and more comfortable with the offense and in college level play in general," he assessed. "A couple of times I predetermined where I was going with the ball and I knew as soon as I let the ball go I had made a mistake, but most of the time I went through my progressions well.
"The good thing is that I recognized my mistakes immediately and those are things you remember and don't do again."
Nutt also praised Snead for the things fans can't see, i.e., the leadership he had on the sidelines while things weren't going well in the third quarter for the offense.
"All I did was tell everyone not to quit and not to worry about anything - we'd have more chances to come back," he explained. "We had a bad third quarter, but we kept our heads in the game and came back. There was no reason to quit or hang our heads, there was still a lot of time to go and we were in the game all the way.
"We just couldn't get on a roll in that quarter. The two turnovers (interceptions) just took our momentum away on offense. Like I said, though, we came back with a good fourth quarter and put ourselves in a position to win."
Snead made several key plays scrambling and under pressure.
"I did a lot of that in high school, so it comes naturally to me. Sometimes things break down and you have to have the ability to make something happen," Snead noted. "My high school coach and Coach (Kent) Austin do great jobs with coaching escapability and working under pressure. We are prepared for those situations."
Jevan does not feel the Wake Forest loss is going to have any carryover.
"We all talked about it being over and that we still have a lot of football left to play. Just because we lost a heartbreaker like that does not mean we are going to lose any more," he noted. "We are just going to stay positive and keep working hard to improve."
The Rebels face Samford this week, a team they should handle without a lot of difficulty, but Jevan says nobody on the team can look at it that way.
"I'm sure Michigan didn't think much about Appalachian State last year, or Texas A&M and Arkansas State this year," he said. "There is danger in overlooking anyone these days. We will prepare for Samford like they are as good as anyone. For all we know, they might be.
"We will go through our gameplan and work hard to get ready for them."
Even though the Rebels did not win the game against Wake Forest, Jevan further solidified himself as the leader of the Rebel offense.
"I've been working hard to gain respect from my teammates and I think that last drive that gave us a late lead helped me with my team," he said humbly. "I think I showed them I'm a competitor and that I am capable of making plays if they will hang with me."
Jevan Snead is definitely proving to be worth the year we had to wait on him.
Jevan Snead -
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