While an offensive philosophy consists of a multitude of individual pieces, the ability to maximize the strengths of said pieces is what allows a successful offense to perform as a cohesive unit.
Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin has begun to see the collaboration of those entities and has been pleased with the progress made thus far.
"Our philosophy offensively, and we've told the players since the beginning, is if any player finds themselves on the football field, we expect him to play as if he's a starter," he said. "He has to be ready to play, prepared to play and actually play on a level that's worthy of the opportunity and position he's been given."
The production level for the Rebels has continually grown as the year unfolds, with Ole Miss ranking highly in many offensive categories.
Currently the Red and Blue sit third in the Southeastern Conference in Total Offense (393.0 yards per game), due in part to the continual maturation of sophomore quarterback Jevan Snead.
Minimizing turnovers has been a point of emphasis all season for Austin and his troops, and the ability of the quarterback to efficiently manage the chaos that surrounds him is vital toward the unit's success.
Against LSU, Snead completed 16-25 passes for a career-high 274 yards with two TDs and notched his third straight game with no interceptions. The Rebels are 7-0 when turning the ball over two times or fewer, including the last four outings.
"The game eventually slows down for a quarterback," Austin explained. "You're thinking less about the individual pieces of the offense and seeing the play as more of a movie. It's as if you see all the pieces moving at once.
"As an analogy, you can't memorize the alphabet as simply a grouping of letters. You need to understand that language comes from that. There's a difference. When the quarterback understands, the game slows down for him, the mind moves at a faster pace. When the decision-making becomes quicker, he can just play and quit thinking so much."
As the game continually slows down for the Rebel signal-caller, Snead finds himself ranked second in the conference in TD passes (19) and third in both passing average (205.2) and passing efficiency (137.0).
"This is definitely a fun offense to be in, especially with some of the plays we dial up," Jevan said. "Sometimes we have guys who are wide open. The coaches do a great job of knowing when to call certain plays. I feel fortunate to have these great coaches and athletes around me to execute these plays."
Austin acknowledged using his experiences as both player and coach in the CFL to add other elements to an already potent Red-Blue machine.
"Stuff I've developed over the years of playing and coaching (in the CFL) has really helped," Austin said. "Time and space, vertical and horizontal separation and spacing between receivers is extremely critical for the quarterback to have success. It's also critical for the front to have success.
"The better you can choreograph that, the better your timing is. You also get rid of the ball quicker and have more completions. Those things really matter and we spend a lot of time on that."
Ole Miss will look to keep the offensive onslaught rolling Friday, as Mississippi State heads to Oxford with hopes of an upset. The Rebels' 29.4 points per game scoring clip is the highest since 2003 and their 31 points against LSU and Florida equal the most against an SEC foe since the 43-40 win over South Carolina in 2003.
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