September 16, 2007

Schaeffer returns for shining moment

NASHVILLE- It's a moment that's been eternalized in film.

Roy Hobbs, the main character in The Natural, waits for his turn on his team's bench. When the chance finally comes, he knocks the cover off the ball.

Saturday at Vanderbilt, Brent Schaeffer had that kind of moment.

Forced into action in the fourth quarter when Seth Adams couldn't deal with a sprained shoulder he suffered earlier in the game,

On the first play with him under center, Schaeffer had his Hobbs' moment. Schaeffer found Mike Wallace sprinting down the sideline, hitting him in perfect stride for a 54-yard touchdown.

It was the quarterback equivalent to knocking the cover off a baseball.

"I saw my receiver over there in one-on-one coverage," Schaeffer said. "I just had to put it up there, trust his speed and put it out in front of him.

"It felt good."

The throw got the Rebels' within seven with 10 minutes left to play.

But by the time Schaeffer got a chance to lead a drive, the Vanderbilt pressure got to him in the backfield on third and fourth downs, essentially ending things for the Rebels.

Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron said it was hard to judge Schaeffer's day on the whole.

"I thought his first throw was pretty good," Orgeron said. "After that, he was just running for his life."

Now, he's playing for his life. Almost an afterthought with Adams' hot start, the former five-star quarterback has found it difficult watching.

"It's hard, but you got to do it," Schaeffer said. "The Memphis game was alright because we won. The Missouri game was tougher because we loss.

"You wonder what you could have done."

On Saturday, he showed everyone what he does bring to the table - and that was a relief.

"It felt good. It felt like a weight was off my back," Schaeffer said. "I want to win, though, and I wanted to get back out there and score."

And while he didn't lead the Rebels back for the win, Schaeffer had his moment.

"I new we needed a play. We needed a little spark," Schaeffer said. "I didn't even get a chance to warm up, but I know I had to at least try to make a play.

"I went out there and did what I was supposed to. It wasn't anything special."

And whether he's starting or the backup, it's what he'll continue to do.

"You just try to stay ready and perform," Schaeffer said. "I'm just doing what I'm told."

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