Calling The Signals

Ole Miss and South Carolina meet Thursday night in Columbia. The Gamecocks hope to make it two wins in a row against the Rebels. Read more on the upcoming game inside.

Steve Spurrier knows a good quarterback when he sees one. He was one himself, winning the Heisman Trophy as a player at Florida in 1966.

Since then he's coached several outstanding ones, including a Heisman winner, the Gators' Danny Wuerffel in 1996.

Spurrier, currently the head coach at South Carolina, has good things to say about Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead.

"He's a beautiful passer. He throws a beautiful ball," said Spurrier, whose 2-1 (0-1 SEC) team meets the 2-0 (0-0) and fourth-ranked Rebels Thursday night on ESPN.

"We watched him last year, and a lot of NFL guys think he may be the first quarterback taken, according to them. He's an excellent passer."

Back in the summer, it was Spurrier's ballot that was the lone vote for Snead as the All-SEC first-team quarterback.

It was confirmed that a member of the South Carolina football staff turned in Spurrier's ballot, but the head coach then changed it to Florida's Tim Tebow, making the former Gator Heisman winner from 2007 a unanimous selection.

Spurrier also likes the strides his own quarterback, Stephen Garcia, has made.

"Our passer's getting better, and he's got some improvement to do," he said. "But he's getting better. We would hope we would just hit everything in practice and hit all the open guys in the game, but we haven't quite gotten to that level yet. But that's what we're shooting for."

Last season, Garcia was on the Gamecocks' team when they beat the Rebels 31-24 in Oxford. But it was Chris Smelley who quarterbacked the Gamecocks to a road win.

Snead was the Rebels' signal-caller that day and had a decent outing, going 21-of-32 for 243 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Smelley, who left USC in January, was just a bit better.

Smelley was 22-of-32 for 327 yards and an interception. But three touchdown passes.

While no longer in football, the Tuscaloosa native now attends the hometown University of Alabama as a catcher for the Crimson Tide baseball team.

In last seasons's USC win, the Gamecocks had one 95-yard drive for a score to put them up 10 points in the fourth quarter, and amazingly only punted one time all day – a 9-yarder.

Snead recalls that day last fall with a lack of fondness.

"The loss last year stung," he said.

The Rebels fell to 3-3 on the season at that point and 1-2 in SEC play. USC moved to 4-2 and 1-2.

Snead is hoping for a better outcome Thursday night.

"I know we can play better," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing some SEC football and trying to play better."

Last year's victory was the Gamecocks' first win against Ole Miss since they joined the SEC. The Rebels lead the 14-game all-time series 8-6.


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