Kent Austin -

Finding out the strengths of your players and what they can and cannot do is an ongoing process for Rebel Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin and the offensive staff. Read his thoughts on the matter inside.

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Kent Austin has volume after volume of formations, plays and ideas dedicated to offensive football.

But that's not what produces a productive, successful offense, he says.

"You have to learn what each of your players can do and can't do and then you have to play to their strengths, putting them in positions to be successful and ultimately win," explained Austin.

Earlier in the year, Austin hinted there were things he could not do that he would like to due to the newness of some players in the system, especially up front. Is he more comfortable now and able to get them to execute more things?

"What I am comfortable with - up front and at every position - is that we have now identified what we can do well and what we can't," he said. "We're not going to do what our players are incapable of doing. It's an ongoing process, but we are more comfortable now that we recognize strengths and weaknesses of our personnel."

In other words, anyone can draw up fancy plays but if your players can't execute them, what difference does it make?

"We have, as the season unfolds, to make sure we take out what we don't do well and add what we do well," he continued. "Again, it's about putting your players in a position to succeed and tailoring what you do to their strengths. We have come a long way in knowing what they can and can't do, but we are constantly watching that and pushing them to do more at every position.

"We are at a point in the season though where we need to stay focused on the things they have shown a propensity to do well consistently and create more of those types of scenarios for them."

Kent was reminded that his QB, Jevan Snead, was run through the wringer a bit by the media earlier in the year.

"That can make a player tougher, but I have also seen it make players go into a shell. It depends on who you are," Austin stated. "In my talks with Jevan, I have stressed to him that you can learn to be a better QB and a better person in both good times and tough times.

"What's important is the way he views both the negative and the positive and how he internalizes that properly to become a better football player. Most of it is not relevant, to be honest. You have to be able to shed the good and the bad. It has nothing to do with him coming back out here and improving as a player. He needs to focus on the things that are important - developing as a player, a young man and being a leader on this team. I think he's done that most of the time. He cares a lot and he sometimes carries it on his sleeve, but he's learning."

Austin said there's really no correlation to the surge the Rebels had last year to that same type of "look" the past two weeks out of his offense.

"What we did last year is just not relevant to how we need to prepare, improve and practice now. We are focusing on different areas than we were then," he said. "I understand the question and the comparison, but that's not what we are focusing on.

"It's all about a process of improvement. If you can stick with that and learn to stay on that path of getting better, the rest will take care of itself typically. We have a tough schedule ahead of us and we can't focus on the past or win streaks or anything other than getting better each day."

Kent knows what to expect out of Auburn's defense - typical SEC.

"They have a really good player up front. They have a safety who runs really, really well," he began. "They don't do a whole lot up front, but what they do, they do really well.

"They've got some real physical guys - hitters - on their defense. It's typical of all SEC defenses - we will have to play very well to be successful."

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