The Unknown

Rebel Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner says the Rebels have prepared well for the challenge of the Texas Longhorns this week, but a major question remains. . . . what will Texas do on defense?

"Our guys have prepared well, we have a good gameplan and the kids have bought into our plan, as usual," said Werner. "The big question mark is what are they (Texas) going to do defensively?"

Sounds like a strange question from an OC who has spent a week, or more, scouting an opponent, but one has to remember the circumstances.

Texas head man Mack Brown fired DC Manny Diaz after the BYU embarrassment and hired Greg Robinson, a veteran DC on the pro and college levels.

Midstream changes can mean many things, which have left the Ole Miss offensive coaches somewhat guessing.

"We think they are going to run their base defense and also go with some of what Greg Robinson has gone with in the past," Werner explained. "We have been turning over a lot of stones this week and we are trying to be ready for anything."

How much change does he expect? What is realistic for a coach to change midstream?

"I would think it would be tough to install too much new stuff, but you never know. He may come in and totally revamp things. If it were me, I wouldn't change too much because I want kids to execute and that takes familiarity, but who knows what he might do?" Werner answered with a question of his own.

The one thing Werner has to guard against, however, is crossing the line of giving his players too much to think about.

Dan Werner
Chuck Rounsaville

"We can't throw too much at our guys, but we have to be ready for a lot. There is a fine line," he said. "The thing is we run a different scheme than most people. Sometimes you just can't worry as much about what the defense is doing, just do your thing. We go by our rules and we go fast and we know defenders are going to be out of position at times. That's when we have to take advantage of the situation."

Werner respects Robinson's worksheet.

"He's well respected in our profession," Werner stated. "He has been considered an excellent defensive coordinator for years and has been a head coach. He was in the NFL a long time and had a great reputation as a quality coach. He knows his stuff."

Some are insisting the BYU debacle was all Texas screwing up. Werner saw it differently.

"I give BYU a lot of credit. They had a good plan and that quarterback broke a bunch of tackles and played a tremendous game. Their backs also ran it very hard," Werner noted. "Texas would be in the right spots a good bit of the time, but they didn't make the plays. That's a credit to BYU."

Despite the BYU beat down, Werner understands the level of talent the Texas defense has.

"Their personnel is very good. They have a lot of guys who are big, strong and fast. They are SEC players. They have one of the top 5 recruiting classes every year, it seems like," he continued. "You know when you line up against them they are going to have very, very good players out there.

"We have our hands full, but this is the kind of challenge you want as a coach and a player. To go into Austin and play on that stage is special. If you are any kind of competitor, you look forward to these kinds of challenges."

While what Texas will do defensively is a bit of an unknown, Werner said the Rebels are anxious to get after it.

"This is a big out of conference game. It will mean a lot to win to both teams," Werner closed. "I wish it was Saturday right now. We are excited to see where we are as an offense and as a team."

OM Spirit Top Stories