Wommack's Weekly Goal

A lot has been made, rightfully so, about the Rebel defensive staff, led by DC Dave Wommack, making solid, effective adjustments during games and halftimes this year. Wommack believes the players' understanding of the system has allowed that to happen.

For much of this season, the Ole Miss Rebel defense, led by Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack, has been better in the second half than in the first.

The term "halftime adjustments" is easily tossed around. It's a catch-all, layman's way of noting first-half to second-half improvement.

But what goes into that? Wommack is not going to give away a lot of trade secrets, but he will talk in general.

"We have emphasized the fourth quarter a lot. The four times we have won the fourth quarter, we have won the game. The three times we have not, we have lost," he explained. "We put in a scheme to start a game and the offense we play has a scheme. Sometimes ours works, sometimes theirs does.

"I think the assistant coaches have made some good adjustments at halftime, which has made a difference. Our guys have bought in to what we are teaching them. You can't make productive adjustments without the players believing in them and understanding them and that has taken place as the season has gone on."

The light started shining for the defensive players the Sunday after the Texas game, which was a defensive nightmare with over 50 missed assignments.

"They were embarrassed. I was embarrassed," Dave recalled. "We were watching the film. We did not holler and scream at them, we just showed them why they did not succeed. They took it and ran with it.

"They now understand I have 33 years of coaching experience. I may not be the greatest coach in the world, but I know what I am talking about and so do our assistant coaches. If they will listen and make those adjustments, we will get them in the right place. Now they get that and are doing what we ask them to do. Some of that has to do with having faith in us as coaches and some of that has to do with them learning the system better as we go."

Dave Wommack
File Photo

Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson offers the latest challenge to the Rebel defense, which faces a different mountain to climb every week in the SEC.

"Tyler is a seasoned quarterback who reads coverages extremely well and knows where to go with the ball," said Wommack. "He has some talented receivers to get the ball to and he knows how to run their offense.

"They lost him early on and kind of threw them in a tizzy, but now he's back and they are in good form again."

More on Wilson. . .

"He's probably the total package - he hits receivers in stride and on target, his presence to make checks at the line of scrimmage and his ability to grasp and react to what's going on around him make me believe he will play in the NFL," Dave continued. "We will have to do a good job of mixing up coverages and disguising coverages as well.

"He doesn't get too flustered and has great field presence. I have played against and coached with their assistants and they do a good job. They are very organized, they know what they are doing and they get that across to their players. That's why their offenses are normally real good."

Wilson and his receivers are not the only headache the Hog offense present. With Knile Davis and Dennis Johnson, the Razorbacks have also shown they can run the ball.

"They were turning the ball over a lot early, but lately they have not. Davis was in a little slump and I think they lost confidence in him a little, buty now he's come back," Wommack added. "They are both good, solid backs."

Seven games down, the next one in Little Rock.

Another stern test for the defense.

Will it be another week of gradual improvement for the Rebel defense? That's what Wommack is hoping and planning for.

"We have not done a real good job in the second quarter this year. We have to tighten that up," he closed. "Our goal is to play four good quarters. We need to close in on that to keep having success.

"We look forward to another opportunity to improve."

And adjust. . . .

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