Ebb and Flow

Though cliché and often repeated, nothing helps a team cope with tough losses more than a win the next week. But for junior quarterback Jevan Snead and the Ole Miss offense, a strong showing against Vanderbilt means much, much more.

Totaling only 71 yards during the first half of a 16-10 loss to South Carolina, the warning signs of inconsistent play in previous games offensively proved recurring.

Snead, who completed just seven of his 21 passing attempts, was flustered from a relentless Gamecock pass rush, with the Stephenville, Texas native unable to keep his eyes downfield with pursuit at a premium.

"Obviously we didn't play well (against South Carolina)," said Snead. "We couldn't get anything going and couldn't string anything together. We had a lot of mistakes and a bunch of mental errors. It was just a tough game."

Against South Carolina, the Rebels surrendered four sacks, two by way of Gamecock career leader Eric Norwood.

The pressure was surely felt by Snead, who suffered through a stretch of six-straight incompletions in the loss.

"I definitely still trust them," Snead said of the offensive line. "We're all going to have better days than others. I've made several mistakes, but I know what I need to correct to get better. I have all the faith in the world in those guys and I'm proud to be playing behind them."

"I thought there were times where the pocket did collapse a little bit on Jevan," Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt added. "Also, he probably anticipated a pocket collapsing, and he didn't throw it away a couple of times like he normally does."

For the season, Snead has completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes, while totaling 491 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.

While Snead has completed at least one touchdown pass in 12 consecutive games, four short of Eli Manning's school record, the 6-foot-3, 220 pounder saw his streak of multiple TD passing games end at eight against South Carolina.

"Every quarterback's personality is different. Jevan is a little more high-strung than our other guys," offensive coordinator Kent Austin said. "He wants to be perfect on every play. He needs to let the game come to him more and just execute what we ask him to execute without worrying about the other 10 doing their jobs. Focus in on executing the next play to the best of his ability. When he plays one play at a time, he's more relaxed and more effective."

Over his first two years in Oxford, Snead has totaled 200 yards passing seven times.

However, the junior signal-caller has been held under that mark twice so far this season – a far cry for a quarterback who closed 2008 with three consecutive 200-plus yard games.

"You just have to focus on the next play," said Snead. "I know there were times where I had pressure on the previous play and I let it affect me on the next when maybe I didn't have pressure. Coach always says you have to have a short memory as a quarterback. You have to be aware of the atmosphere, but at the same time if you have pressure on the previous play, you have to forget about it."

Finishing with an unimpressive 248 yards of total offense, Snead and company have certainly endured their fair share of criticism since a forgettable performance on national television.

An offensive gameplan proven ineffective has been examined and debated ad nauseum over a long practice week, but Snead said blame should only be placed on the unit's lack of execution.

"When you look back at some of the plays we did make and some of the plays we didn't, you see it's not that our offensive plays aren't working, but that we didn't execute them properly," he said. "We have all the faith in the world in our offense and see where it can work. Now it's just a matter of going out and executing."

For a team that had grown accustomed to the taste of winning, a 10-day wait until kickoff seems an eternity.

While the Rebels remain mindful of the happenings in Columbia, Snead said their sole focus is on the 84th meeting with Vanderbilt.

"It was tough not to be down, especially a couple of days after the game," said Snead. "Right now, I feel everyone has responded pretty well and doing what they need to do. We're all just trying to work as hard as we possibly can to not let it happen again. I'm fortunate enough to be on a great team with some great guys who know when it's time to move on and get their work done."

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