Kick back and relax

For any student-athlete, a little time off is always a good thing.

But for Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead, a month-long break following such an up-and-down junior season has been a much-needed breath of fresh air.

"Besides finals, things have been really nice," he said. "It's been good to kind of relax a little bit and not worry too much about getting straight into the gameplan. We've mostly been working on fundamentals. We've taken a step back and tried to improve."

In 12 games as Ole Miss' starter under center this season, Snead completed 178-of-328 pass attempts for 2,464 yards and 20 touchdowns. He did log 17 interceptions, however, which led the conference.

The former Heisman sleeper is just the second Rebel quarterback to reach 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons. Eli Manning reached the 2,000-yard plateau in each of his three seasons as a starter from 2001-03.

Snead has passed for multiple touchdown passes in 13 of the last 18 games with three-plus scores in seven contests.

"I think it's been good for a lot of people as far as getting guys back healthy again," said Snead of the time off. "We've been getting some rest. The other day I slept in until 11:30 a.m., so that was pretty nice. It's been a long time since I've done that. Overall for the team, it's great. And getting these young guys some reps is a huge deal."

However, while he's enjoyed a bit of relaxation, Snead understands the task at hand in the team's upcoming meeting with No. 21 Oklahoma State in the 74th annual AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic.

For the second straight year, Ole Miss finds itself in Dallas for New Year's. The return trip, this time to elaborate Cowboys Stadium, marks the first back-to-back January bowl berths for Ole Miss in 40 years.

But even more exciting for Snead, the showdown with the Cowboys offers yet another chance to play in front of a hometown crowd. Last season, Snead helped lead the Rebels to a thrilling 47-34 win over Texas Tech.

In the effort, Snead completed 18-of-29 passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

"Just like last year, it's great to go home and see all my family and friends," the Stephenville, Texas product said. "Of course, my parents have made it to all my games. But to see some of my friends at a game is a great feeling. I'm looking forward to it."

While he's yet to see the Classic's new digs up close, Snead has heard plenty about "Jerry's World" to muster up some excitement.

"I've seen it on TV and I've heard some of my friends talk about how awesome it is on the inside," said Snead, one of nine Rebels hailing from the Lone Star state. "It's going to be great. I'm looking forward to playing there and practicing there. I can't wait for the whole experience."

The Cotton Bowl also offers a unique opportunity for Snead to play against his close friend and former Manning Camp roommate Zac Robinson for the first time.

Robinson, a native of Littleton, Colo., has been sidelined at various points in the season due to injury. His streak of 34 consecutive starts was halted after he sustained a shoulder injury in the Cowboys' win over Texas Tech, leading Robinson to miss the team's home finale with Colorado.

These days, Robinson is nursing a sprained ankle. He's passed for 1,966 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2009.

"He's a great guy," Snead said of Robinson. "We were actually roommates at the Manning Camp. He's just a really cool guy, a really fun guy, and a great quarterback. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I'm just looking forward to getting to see him the week prior and in the game. I'm probably going to give him a call this week or text him and see how things are going."

Though some time to put his feet up has been a welcomed reprieve, life is sure to pick back up for Snead in the coming weeks. Along with preparing for the Cowboys, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder will have to decide whether to forego his senior season for NFL riches after the season.

Snead said he is currently leaning in no particular way, but rather weighing his options as a draft eligible junior.

"It's tough to say right now," Snead said of his upcoming decision. "I'm really just focusing on the bowl game. I guess after the bowl game, I'll sit down and evaluate some stuff. I'll weigh the pros and cons of each and go from there."

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