March 10, 2008

New offense is to Snead's liking

Last season, Jevan Snead toiled in a system he wasn't sure was for him.

But before even practicing under Houston Nutt or offensive coordinator Kent Austin, Senad's getting a different feeling about the direction of the Ole Miss offense.

Snead's been studying the playbook as he and the Rebels prepare for spring practice, which begins Wednesday, March 19.

"It's definitely different, but I like it," he said. "It makes more sense than what we were doing. We're not running routes to get covered. Whether the coverage is man or zone, the receivers can adjust their routes."

And that subtle difference makes Snead's job easier.

"It makes the reads easier," he said. "Once you figure out the coverage, you know exactly where you're going. We're going to try to know, not necessarily where we're going with it, but who we're going to look at first."

In preparation for the trust and cohesion required to run the new offense, Snead and the receivers have been putting in some extra work.

"That's why we're up here throwing," he said. "Of course, we're all learning right now and we don't have everything down. But throughout the spring and the summer, we'll get it down to where we're operating smoothly."

Snead said he's not been given the entire playbook but the offense will contain some spread formations and some shotgun, two things he said he's excited about.

Snead said he expects spring workouts to really stress the Rebels' ability to adapt to a new system.

"Anytime you get a new offense, it'll be mostly mental," Snead said. "It'll be physical too, and I'm looking forward to that. But, I'm looking forward to the mental part.

"It'll be big-time learning throughout the spring and summer, getting ready to go win some games."

But before Snead could think about getting on the field, he first had to rehab his knee after having arthroscopic surgery in November.

"It's great. I'm still trying to get my strength back in my lower body. Other than that, my knee's 100 percent," Snead said. "I'm just trying to get the strength back that I lost from not being able to do anything.

"I'm not far enough behind me to have it affect me at all. I'd like to be able to squat a little more, but as far as playing, it doesn't bother me at all."

Physically, Snead's confident he'll be ready for a great spring, and after spending some time with Austin, he's confident the new offensive coordinator will help him elevate his game.

"It's been great. Just all of his ideas - he's brilliant," Snead said. He knows so much. Right now, I'm in the process of learning from him, and I'm looking forward to actually working with him on the field, having him critique me.

"It's not just learning the offense, but it's letting him critique my footwork and my throwing motion."

And Austin's experience as an Ole Miss quarterback has helped make the relationship strong from the start.

"He knows what we're going through, the pressure and all that," Snead said. "It helps him relate to us and it helps us trust him.

"That's a big part of it right there."

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