Scratching the Surface

Ole Miss put up some pretty good offensive numbers this year during the regular season, but OC Dan Werner believes there is much, much more to do and accomplish as a unit in the future.

Ole Miss averaged 426.2 yards of offense per game during the 2012 season, the second best average behind the Eli Manning-led 2003 offense.

They also scored 371 points, fifth all-time in the Rebel annals.

QB Bo Wallace threw for 2,843 yards, fourth behind only Eli Manning, all three years he started.

Some pretty hefty numbers for a first-year offense, yet Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner believes much more is in store.

"This offense is constantly evolving and we're in our first year. The players are just now getting indoctrinated into the nuances of this offense," said Werner. "I don't think we've scratched the surface of what this offense can be.

"We have a base offense in, but there are so many more formations we can use and so many more plays we can call once the players know all the nuances and different things we can do."

Werner further explained.

"There were times this year when we, as coaches, were aware of what we could adjust to in a game and we couldn't do it because the players just did not know all the stuff yet," he noted. "The longer they're in this system, the more we will be able to adapt during games and in our game planning.


Bo Wallace
File Photo

"For instance, we might see something on a Tuesday night in the film room we knew could work, but it would change a rule for this guy or something for another guy that we had already put in that day and it would have confused them so we couldn't put those things in."

The coaches made the decision after spring training they would rather have players playing fast and knowing exactly what to do at all times than having too much on their minds and slowing them down.

"If a guy is not sure what they're doing, it slows them down and we couldn't have that in this tempo offense," he added. "Once they've been in the system another spring and August, we can make more mid-week and game adjustments without causing confusion. Every year it will get better. When we get these kids where they completely understand everything, I think the sky's the limit for this offense."

Werner also believes more knowledge will cut back on the turnovers the Rebs suffered through this year.

"We moved the ball on everyone. There's no doubt in my mind this system works at this level, but we shot ourselves in the foot too much with turnovers. I believe part of that was from being unsure and maybe being a count behind due to a little bit of hesitation. I expect some of that hesitation - again playing fast - to cure itself as we get more and more into the system," he said.

Number one on the agenda is recruiting, obviously, and building more depth.

"We need to upgrade the depth, pretty much across the board," said Werner. "We had games where we played the same five offensive linemen nearly 90 plays.

"We need offensive line depth, we need a big, physical back. We're still young at receiver, but we need some more to give those guys a breather now and then.

"We're bringing in two quarterbacks so we should be good there. We graduate all our tight ends, which is a big concern, so we ideally need to sign a high school TE and a JUCO tight end. We need someone who can play right away there, really two."

The Rebels are nowhere near the 85 scholarships allowed, which is a direct correlation to the lack of depth that, as Werner says, "most everyone else in the SEC has."

"We had some close games at the end this year that might have been a different story had we had a little more depth. Maybe not, but it felt that way at times," he noted. "If some of our front line guys had played a few less snaps throughout the game, maybe they would have been fresher and been able to finish games stronger at the end."

Werner believes the future of the Ole Miss offense is extremely encouraging.

"It's just a matter of time in the system and developing more depth," he closed. "Considering how long these kids have been in this system and how thin we were in certain areas, I think we put up some really good numbers.

"But everyone on the offensive staff feels this was just a beginning and, like I said, just scratching the surface."

The numbers in 2012 prove the Rebel offense is on the right track.

Now add some more pieces to the puzzle (players and depth) and give them more time to develop in the system, and this offense could set Rebel records in the years to come.


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