Role Reversal

Last week, Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner was not pleased after the opening scrimmage. DC Dave Wommack liked what he saw. At today's scrimmage, it was just the opposite. Read about it inside.

After last week's first scrimmage, Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner looked like had seen a ghost after his guys had six turnovers and didn't really produce many plays to write home about.

After today's scrimmage, the second of fall, Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack ran his troops after the workout and was not happy at all.

Meanwhile, Werner was fairly upbeat about his crew's second effort.

"I was pleased for the most part. We protected the football, the number one objective," said Werner. "The tempo, thought not where we want it to be, improved from last week.

"Last scrimmage, I was not happy. Then I watched the film and it wasn't as bad as I thought. This week, I'm happy right now, but I'll probably watch the film and not be as happy. That's usually how it works."

The bottom line is that Werner believes the Reb offense has made up some ground on the defense and they are making more plays.

"That's what it is all about - protecting the ball and making plays and we have done both better in the past week or so," he noted. "We obviously have to get better, but that's what camp is all about."

Breaking down the offense into the different units, Werner started his assessment with the improved offensive line.

"They have improved. (OL Coach) Matt Luke is doing a great job with those guys. They have come a long way," said Dan. "Let's face it, they are the key. If they can create some holes, we can run the ball. If they can protect, we have time to throw and complete some passes. It's elementary. I see a big improvement there.

TB Nick Parker
File Photo

"Out wide, we had some guys make some catches today and turn them into bigger plays with nice runs. We have some things working there. The tight ends are doing a nice job blocking and catching here lately. At running back, we thought we had one back coming into fall camp and now we feel like we have a stable. All our backs seem to be playing well right now and that excites us. At quarterback, again, I am proud of them for protecting the ball today. We had two interceptions today, but on the one Cody Prewitt picked off and returned, Bo made the right read, the receiver just fell down."

From this point on, Werner wants to see the consistency continue to improve, but the area he will preach the most is tempo.

"Between now and the first game we want our guys to play really fast. We had the defense reeling a little bit at times today and didn't get to the line, get set and run the next play as fast as we can or want to," he explained. "That's the next step for us until the first game - get faster."

While Werner was talking with the press, Wommack was putting his guys through some extra running to send a message.

"I wasn't real happy today. I didn't think we played very hard," said Wommack. "We have to have 11 guys go full speed on the field and I didn't think we did that today.

"It was disappointing that we were flat and that we didn't play our assignments very well. I think there has to be more pride than we showed today. We have to choose what we want to be and I haven't seen this kind of lack of effort out of them before this fall camp. I'm disappointed with effort and the alignment and assignment."

Wommack is concerned about the injuries that have mounted on his side of the ball.

"The guys we are missing right now hurt us today. Not only from an ability standpoint, but we have some of our leaders out right now too," he continued. "Regardless, the ones out there have to step up."

Dave conceded part of the issue with the defense is that the offense has improved lately in fall camp.

"I think they have gotten better and better every day and that's a good thing. Everything in practice is more competitive now and that's what you want," he stated. "Today didn't have as much to do with the offense, though, as it did our lack of effort compared to the effort we have been giving.

Senquez Golson
File Photo

"One thing I will say though - our offense really helps us get ready for anything we might see. People tend to believe it is a finesse offense, but it's not. It's a physical offense but we run every motion and shift known to football. That helps you get ready for anything you might see during the season. And I think we do that with our defense with what we run in practices. Our offense has seen a lot of blitzes. I think that has helped them get better."

One bright spot was FS Cody Prewitt, who had a pick 6 in the scrimmage.

"Cody has separated himself a little bit. He knows the defense inside and out, he puts his eyes in the right place. He's been a pleasant surprise so far," he noted.

Dave admitted that the defense's passivity Saturday could have been because of the script he took into the scrimmage.

"I wanted to see what we could do in base defenses so I didn't blitz much. I stayed vanilla and maybe that was part of the problem today," he suggested. "I wanted to see who could execute some of our base stuff more."

Wommack was asked about two freshmen - DT Issac Gross, who has been through the entire fall camp and has made a positive impression, and DE Channing Ward, who was cleared Friday to start practice by the NCAA.

"Issac has done everything we have asked of him and has set himself up to play a lot this year. There are still things he has to learn, but the effort he has given has been excellent," noted Wommack. "We will get Channing going in pass-rush situations quickly and then bring him along from there. We don't know what the learning curve will be, but we are absolutely going to use him.

"Coach Kiffin was joking yesterday about redshirting Channing. I said you better go find a new job, dude, because he will be playing this year. We are very happy to have him. We envision him being like C.J. Johnson on the other side - a disruptive guy who can penetrate."

DE E.J. Epperson and DT Carlton Martin got most of the reps with the number one defense this week as well as the scrimmage.

"They have earned it. They have played hard every day. When you play with great effort, play with your eyes and play with proper alignment and assignment - which is not real hard to do - you will be rewarded," he said. "Some guys are having a hard time doing that, so we are going to put the 11 best who do what we want them to do on the field."

Wommack will also get DT Uriah Grant back in the fold full speed starting Monday.

"I thought from watching film of last year that Uriah was a quick twitch guy. I am anxious to get him in camp to see what he can do and how quickly he can regain his form," Wommack closed. "We need them all back. Staying healthy is huge for us this year because our depth in some areas is not real good. Having guys like Uriah come back will help us a lot."

OM Spirit Top Stories