Ole Miss Quarterback Jevan Snead has a good head on his shoulders.
He's bright, studious and a quick learner, but what he's had to be more than anything this - his first full season under center in college - is patient.
"It's all a learning process and each week I learn a little more. It can be frustrating, but I realize everything comes with time and preparation. I just have to work hard and be patient," he noted.
Snead yearns for the day when he can come to the line of scrimmage and say 'I have seen that - I know what they are doing' in every situation.
"That day is coming. What you have to do is experience every situation and store it in your memory bank. You build a file and you can draw off it as you gain more experience," said Snead. "Right now, I just have to be patient and keep growing. I will probably never know everything, but experience brings you closer and closer to that goal every week."
Jevan says it's not as easy as some might think to reach that point of saturation, but time makes it doable.
"Defenses these days are very complex. They are just as well-coached as we are and they study us as hard as we study them. They disguise coverages, they move around to try to trick you, they show one thing and do another. There are a lot of subtle things going on out there that the average fan does not see and you have to know how to react to," he explained, "but as I said, I learn a little more each week with every new experience and I'll get to the point of total recognition in time.
"Part of my issue with turnovers has been that I didn't recognize what the coverage was doing quickly enough. Coach (Kent) Austin covers everything thoroughly in our preparation each week, but until you actually do it full speed and can recognize almost instantly the intent of the defense, it's easy to make mistakes here and there. The other part of the turnover equation has been me trying to force some throws. The plays you can make in high school you can't squeeze the ball in there in college. Every team has great athletes and every team has great coaching. I realize that more each week and I have to react to that accordingly."
Jevan felt he did a lot of good things against Alabama, but there were still a couple of plays that got away from him.
"I made some good plays, but in the end I felt I could have done a better job, especially during the last drive," he said. "Overall, I had an interception I wish I could have back trying to force the ball where I couldn't. I shouldn't have thrown it, but I played my heart out and did everything I could."
Jevan showed another dimension of his game in the closing drive at Alabama - a couple of times, when the middle opened up, he tucked the ball and ran, gaining good yardage and moving the chains.
"It felt good to kind of get back to the way I used to play in high school, but it just worked out that way. That's not something I will look to do, but if I need to do it I will. I would much rather throw it to one of our receivers or backs who are open and much faster than me," he smiled.
Snead is pleased to have some more weapons added to the Rebel offensive arsenal, namely WRs Lionel Breaux and Markeith Summers and TB Enrique Davis.
"The more the better," he continued. "They are all great players and I have faith in them to make big plays. I am glad they are all working themselves into the rotation because it gives our offense just that many more options.
"Lionel and Markeith are both fast and find ways to get open. I like going to them."
Snead said Rebel Coach Houston Nutt has not said a lot about his return to Arkansas.
"He's always full of energy and emotional with his approach, so we can't tell any difference really," Snead stated. "He just told us that this game is the same as every game - the biggest game on the schedule because it's the next game, and nothing more or less."
Back to Alabama, but also moving forward, Jevan said there was a certain amount of satisfaction to being able to move the ball against the Tide to the tune of 359 yards. He expects that to not only continue but to improve.
"They were a great defense. To be able to do some of the things we were able to do against them and the other defenses we have faced, I have developed an unbelievable amount of confidence in this offense," he closed. "Our biggest hurdle right now is to put a full four quarters of football together.
"When we do that, there is no telling how many yards we can gain and points we can score. I feel we can be great, but we have to show we can do it for four quarters and not just two or three."
Jevan Snead -
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