Wommack Pleased

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack, fresh off the second full scrimmage of August practice Saturday morning, had a lot of positive comments to make about the day and the first 18 days of camp.

"At first, we came out flat with not a lot of energy, but then we picked it up in those competition periods," said Dave, entering his second season as the Rebel defensive boss. "Our team has gotten better this week.

"I believe our offense has improved and the defense has improved as well. We are playing a lot of young guys on our second team and our number two secondary needs some improvement, but we have time to do that."

About the only major concern Dave has had is getting everybody ready to play from a health standpoint.

"I feel real good about our front seven when everyone is healthy. The flip side is that we have had some health issues there," he said, in reference to DE Robert Nkemdiche, DE C.J. Johnson, LB/DE D.T. Shackelford, DT Issac Gross and DE Carlos Thompson.

The good thing is those guys are expected to be "OK" for the Vandy game.

"When healthy, I feel good that we have enough players on the front seven to rotate at least two deep," he noted.

Then the barrage of individual question began, starting with freshman Husky Antonio Connor.

"Oh, he's going to play a lot. He'll play in the first game. He has been exceptional for a freshman, especially assignment-wise," Dave continued. "He has a physical nature and is a natural playmaker."

Woody Hamilton
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With Connor doing so well, fans have been asking if Husky Mike Hilton may play some cornerback. Wommack refuted that - for now.

"We are not training Mike to play corner at this time. I expect him to be a Husky. He and Tony and Cliff Coleman will hold down that slot," said Dave.

Safety Chief Brown has also made a mark on the defense, according to Wommack.

"Chief will have a much bigger role than he had last year. I see Chief as a starter who can play both safety slots," Wommack noted. "I really haven't decided who will start yet. Chief may be a starter the first game, we'll see."

Chief seems to be pushing Trae Elston for the starting Rover slot, but Wommack has a lot of faith in Trae as well.

"He's done good. He knows what we are doing, inside and out," Wommack stated. "He's very physical. I kind of worry about the targeting rule with him, but he's just got to play smart in that area."

Wommack was quizzed about the main concern on the defense - cornerback.

"I don't think we have been able to totally fix that due to the injuries (Charles Sawyer and Senquez Golson) to the two guys who have the most experience," Wommack assessed. "It was good for us that Bobby Hill and Anthony Standifer and some others could get a lot more reps than they would have.

Dehendret Collins
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"Q. Burdette has had to go against #12 (Donte Moncrief) every time out here and he gets better every day he does that. He's had some bad days trying to cover Donte, one of the best players in the nation at wideout. Burdette is a competitor, he's grown up and I don't see him put his head down like he used to last year. I'm excited about him. Dehendret Collins has been very solid to me. I wish we had played him at CB last year. We just didn't have enough guys and had to play him at Husky. I think we absolutely have him in the right spot now. He's tough, he's physical and he's a competitor. He does everything we need that corner to do."

What kind of role does Wommack anticipate for freshman DE Robert Nkemdiche?

"A big role. He is going to play a lot. We are going to keep those guys fresh by rotating them and he is absolutely in the two-deep and will get plenty of snaps," Dave stated.

Again, Wommack responded positively about DT Woodrow Hamitlon.

"He's done well. The biggest issue with him in the past is that he has injuries. From last spring on, healthy and knowing what he's doing now, has made me very excited about Woody," said Wommack.

Finally, Thompson - will he help?

"Carlos missed some time with a concussion, but we have been very happy with him in a pass-rushing role," Wommack closed.

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