August 16, 2006
Schaeffer getting settled in new offense
Everyone knows what kind of athlete Ole Miss Quarterback Brent Schaeffer is from his previous stints at Tennessee where he started as a true freshman and from his junior college experience last year.
The question is does Rebel fans realize what kind of person or leader Schaeffer will be for Ole Miss this fall.
Schaeffer appeared at Ole Miss Media Day and appeared as smooth with reporters as he appears on the gridiron. He also attracted the most attention, imagine that.
One thing that is apparent from interviewing Schaeffer is that he is focused on putting the past behind him and looking forward to his future return to the SEC, a conference he has always loved.
"I'm definitely anxious to play D1 football, but I don't plan on rushing things," Schaffer said. "I plan on taking one game at a time and right now I'm just focused on being the best I can be in this offense."
It's also apparent that Schaeffer has used the last two years as a learning experience, which shows the talented signal caller has faced adversity and knows how to cope with the good and the bad.
Schaeffer was blitzed by some of the media to re live his past at Tennessee, with some even asking him to compare his new head coach Ed Orgeron with his former head coach Phil Fulmer.
He handled the blitz with poise and class and never flinched as he was assured that his new teammates and his new head coach has his back and it's apparent he also has theirs.
"I have the past behind me," Schaeffer said. "I'm not going to make any comparisons. I have learned a lot from my past experiences and I feel that I'm a better person because of all of it."
One thing that Schaeffer has learned throughout his journey to junior college back to Division 1 football is to focus on the academic side of things better than he has done in the past.
"It was a rough time for me," Schaeffer said. "I was 18 years old and I thought I knew everything. I have grown so much as a person and a player and even the struggles of junior college have prepared me for being here at Ole Miss. I plan on being a better student in the classroom; I now realize how important it is not to get behind."
Now Schaeffer realizes that all of his past was just God's plan for him and he feels that Oxford is where he is suppose to be.
"I'm really excited about being here at Ole Miss," Schaeffer said. "It's a privilege to be an Ole Miss Rebel, something that I will always respect and appreciate. We have a close knit group here and a very intense head coach. I take the intensity as a positive thing and plan on using it my advantage."
While Schaeffer appears as a quite humble young man, it's his quite confidence that makes players around him better according to his former junior college offensive coordinator.
"Brent just has that quite confidence about him, he is somewhat of a shy person," Andy Siegal of College Sequoias said. "He is totally different when he gets out on the field, he doesn't have a problem taking control of his offense and he is a true leader that leads by example. He can make magical things happen when the ball is in his hands; he has a great knack of making big things happen with both his arm and his feet."
Schaeffer arrived in Oxford the night before reporting day and has not disappointed the Ole Miss coaching staff so far with his ability to learn the offense or his on the field performances.
"I have been teaching quarterbacks for a long time," new Ole Miss offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "I had an idea where he would be when he arrived; he has passed my expectations in a big way. He is a very smart young man that picks up football very easy and he is working very hard to be ready which we are confident he will be."
Orgeron also has been singing his praises since his arrival and it was apparent that Orgeron had confidence in Schaeffer ever since national signing day. Orgeron surprised fans and experts when he named the junior college transfer his starter before the ink had dried on his letter of intent.
When asked if he had confidence in Schaeffer Orgeron didn't hesitate to answer during his press conference Monday.
"I have a lot of confidence in Brent's ability," Orgeron said. "I understood what was on our football team and where he stood on our team. That is the reason I made that decision (naming him starter in February), and I think our team knows that and understands that now that they see him. We have some quarterbacks that could go in the game and run our offense, but there is no one else with his ability at the quarterback position."
While it's apparent that Orgeron and the coaching staff have confidence and respect for the Rebel's new man behind center, he has already earned several of his teammates respect as well.
"Brent has done a great job so far," former quarterback and current tight end Robert Lane said. "He has come in and hasn't missed a beat, Coach Werner did a good job preparing him before his arrival and he is everything that we heard he was."
Another former junior college quarterback Bruce Hall had this assessment of Schaeffer.
"There are some things I really notice that some guys may take for granted," Hall said. "It's his composure and the way he just looks over everything and goes through his progressions, you can tell that he is playing on a high level."
Schaeffer is now focused on learning the new offensive system to perfection and prepare to the best of his ability for the Rebels opener with Memphis.
"My new teammates and coaches have done a great job making me feel welcome and already a part of this team in such a short time," Schaeffer said. "My goal is to help improve the offense, improve my game every day. I feel that I fit in well here and that this is where I belong. Now I just want to go out and play ball and prepare myself and this team to take on a good Memphis team."
When asked how it will feel to lead the Rebels against Memphis in his return to D1 football, Schaeffer's smile lit up the room.
"I can't wait," Schaeffer said. "I have come a long way to get to that point, when game time arrives it will mean I'm back."
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