No Weakness

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner has been in college football a long time and has seen some great defenses, but he said he's never seen one where you couldn't find a weakness somewhere - until now. Hello, Alabama.

Rebel Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner was asked about Alabama's defense after a recent practice.

He got right to the crux of the matter, and didn't waste words.

"They are big, fast, strong and well-coached," said Werner. "I see no weaknesses. I've seen a lot of good defenses in my time and there is usually something you see that you think you can attack out of a certain formation or whatever. I just don't see it with them.

"You have to work hard to get four yards and it shows in their stats. Look at their stats the last two years. They just don't give up 300-400-yard games."

The Rebels did put up nearly 400 yards of offense and scored 24 offensive points against Texas, a salty defense in their own right.

"We've seen speed before, but these guys (Alabama) are as good as it gets," Werner stated. "Texas blitzes you more and gives you different looks. Alabama will give you different looks, but they are never out of their gaps and their DBs never turn a receiver free."

Is the ace up the Rebs' sleeve the tempo game and the spread?

"We installed this offense to keep people off balance and to operate at a different pace. We'll see soon enough how well it works," Dan added.

Jeff Scott
File Photo

Bama's defensive prowess aside, the Rebels are the leading rushing team in the SEC. Surprise, surprise.

"If you had asked me last spring, I would have told you I did not see this coming, no way. As I saw the young backs come along and saw (OL Coach) Matt Luke get the line better, I started to feel like the run game could be the strong part of the offense," Werner noted.

What do the Rebels have to do to pull the big upset?

"Number one, we have to protect the ball, which we haven't the last couple of weeks. We have to make a few big plays and hope they turn it over. That's how you win most games, not just pull upsets," Dan stated.

The Rebs have been using crowd noise in practice, but simulating Bryant-Denny is a different deal altogether.

"That level of noise is a concern, as much communication as we do at the line of scrimmage, but our kids have handled the piped in noise well so far, so that is encouraging," Werner allowed.

QB Bo Wallace did not practice Tuesday, but has practiced every day since and is expected to start against the Tide.

Meanwhile, Barry Brunetti has been splitting reps with Wallace just in case, which doesn't alter the coaches' plans too much if something unexpected happens and Bo can't play and Barry has to take over.

"We do the same stuff with both of them. Barry does things a little differently and we'll have a few different plays, but it's not like we have two different offenses going," said Werner. 'Our schemes will be the same no matter who plays QB."

Werner said Brunetti has improved a lot since the first of August.

"He's picking up his reads better and he's more confident back there," Werner said. "We can also help him by calling things he likes to do."

Werner hurried off the practice field after the interview.

Destination? To watch more film and look for that elusive weakness in the Tide's defense.

"When you play a defense with no apparent weaknesses or with no personnel you think you can exploit, it comes down to execution," he closed. "We have to execute like we did the first quarter of the Tulane game, but we have to do it for four quarters."

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