Werner Respects Auburn 'D'

Even though Auburn comes to Oxford with a 1-4 record, Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner believes the Tigers have a very good front four that is a major concern for Rebel success.

Dan Werner has four numbers etched in his head this week - 95, 98, 54, and 55.

Those are the numbers, respectively, of Auburn's front four - Dee Ford, Angelo Blackson, Jeffrey Whitaker and Corey Lemonier.

"They are really good on defense. Really fast, really physical and they haven't really given up that many points," said Werner. "It will be a real good test for us.

"Their defensive line is their strength. They have two defensive ends who are both around 250 who can really run and their two inside guys are 300-pounders who are very physical. They are the main concern we have this week, but their back end people can run too. The tape of them and LSU is really eye-opening."

Getting the troops ready for Auburn has been a little out of the ordinary this week.

One, the Rebs have had to put behind a heartbreaking loss to Texas A&M behind them.

"It's been tough for us as coaches too," said Dan, "but we have to forget about it as a staff. It's just like when you win, really. You have to put that behind you too. You can't celebrate or mope for long. It just doesn't work that way.

"One of our mottos for the year is not to let someone beat us twice. That week is over and we have to bounce back. The kids have done a good job of that this week."

Two, Rebel QB Bo Wallace had a personal tragedy early this week when his sister, Baylee, was in a bad car accident. Fortunately, her neck surgery was successful and she is expected to have a full recovery. That weighed heavily on Bo's mind and Dan, being the QB coach, has had to help Wallace through the tough time.

"We have talked about this a lot. We have called his parents and made sure everything is OK. After he got the good news about the surgery, it has bounced right off of him," said Werner. "His parents being calm has calmed Bo.

Ja-Mes Logan
File Photo

"When I first called his parents, I asked them how quickly we needed to get Bo up there. His Dad said don't send him, he needs to play football and get his mind off this. We have this situation covered. They are a strong family."

The Rebel offense is starting to show up in a national leaders category in spots. Does that surprise Werner halfway through the season?

"I don't want to say I am surprised. It's what we hoped for and worked toward, but I do feel we are playing pretty well," he said. "If we could protect the ball just a little better, we would be really good. That's the hurdle we have to clear, sooner rather than later.

"There are going to be interceptions. Every Hall of Famer that has ever played in the NFL, every great college quarterback, has thrown interceptions. Sometimes, it just happens, but what the really good ones prevent is having interceptions due to bad decisions and that's where we have to shore things up."

One thing that has helped the Rebel offense lately has been the emergence of WRs Vincent Sanders and Ja-Mes Logan.

"They have always done well, but now defenses are putting more emphasis on covering Donte (Moncrief) and that has opened things up for the other guys now," Dan explained. "Now, if they try to double Donte, they know we have other guys who can make plays. Pick your poison, kind of.

"We are also pleased to be getting Korvic Neat back. The more weapons, the better for the way we want to run this offense and spread the ball around."

The Rebels' path to victory will run right through the Auburn defensive line, according to Werner.

"We have to do a good job with their front people, no doubt. To have success against them, we will have to neutralize them some way," he closed. "That is the key to the game, from out side of the ball."

Another SEC game, another quality SEC front to deal with.

Nothing new there.

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