Showing Respect

On paper, the Ole Miss-Troy game, set for 11:00 Saturday morning in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, looks like it should be a Rebel victory. Ole Miss DC Dave Wommack hasn't read that paper.

The Troy Trojans will roll into Oxford for a Saturday morning showdown with the Rebels looking for their sixth win of the year to make them bowl eligible.

While the bookies and media give them little chance, Rebel DC Dave Wommack is not taking them for granted.

"When you discuss their offense, you have to start with their quarterback, Corey Robinson," said Wommack. "He has a very quick release and he has thrown for a lot of yards in his career, both in high school and in college.

"I think he has almost 3,000 yards passing already this year with two regular season games to go. If he maintains his average, he'll be over 3,500 yards this year and that's a good year for anybody. I respect him and their offense."

Robinson is already number one in Troy history in passing yards (13,086), pass attempts (1,765), pass completions (1,138), passing TDs (80) and total offense yards (12,787).

Dave Wommack
Chuck Rounsaville

"There are no records he hasn't shattered at Troy. Corey is dangerous because he has a great arm and a quick release. He has had his ups and downs, like all quarterbacks, but he's a real good one," Wommack continued.

"I faced this kid at Arkansas State two years ago and I was impressed then when he was young. He's mature now and much better. I also think they have good receivers, especially number 3 - Eric Thomas."

Thomas is moving up the ladder in the Trojan record book as well with 184 catches and 28 TDs so far in his career.

"Thomas isn't a burner, but he's a good receiver. He finds ways to get open and when the ball is in the air, he goes and gets it. He finds ways to get open," noted Wommack. "The running backs run hard and play physical."

Last week against Arkansas, Wommack welcomed back CB Mike Hilton, DT Robert Nkemdiche and OB Denzel Nkemdiche off the injury list.

"They were rusty, but they started knocking the rust off as the game wore on," Wommack said of the 34-24 win over the Hogs. "As a unit, I thought we played really well in the first half. Heading into the fourth quarter, Arkansas only had 220 yards, but in the fourth quarter I didn't think we played pass defense as well as we should have."

After the contest against the Razorbacks, Wommack said the tackling, overall, was poor. After watching the film of the game, he had not changed his mind.

"I was right Saturday. After I watched the film, we were sloppy at times and bending at the waist too much instead of putting our chest on them," he stated. "We need to emphasize that this week for sure as we prepare for Troy.

"If we're going to have success the remainder of the year on the defensive side of the ball, we will have to tackle better, for sure."

Wommack and DL Coach Chris Kiffin kept Bryon Bennett at DE and moved Robert Nkemdiche inside to defensive tackle against Arkansas.

Robert Nkemdiche
Chuck Rounsaville

"He did some good things. He missed a gap or two, but overall I was happy with Robert inside," said Wommack. "I really thought our defensive line played well overall the entire game until the end when I thought they got tired with the pass rush some."

DE John Youngblood sustained a concussion in the Arkansas game and will be out of action against Troy.

"We'll go with D.T. Shackelford and Temario Strong in that spot behind Cameron Whigham," he said. "Bennett and Channing Ward will hold down the other side."

CB Charles Sawyer will miss the Troy game, but there is high hope he will be back in action against Missouri.

"We'll go with Mike Hilton and Derrick Jones on one side and Senquez Golson and Bobby Hill on the other," Wommack noted.

In conclusion, Wommack believes the Rebels will have to play clean, solid football against the Trojans.

Except for one game, they've scored 30 or more points every week," he closed. "We'll have to be tuned in and on our toes against them.

"They like to spread you out and attack with that passing game of theirs and that will put a lot of pressure on us."

On paper, this game looks like a Rebel win.

Wommack was quick to remind those firing questions at him that games are not played on paper.

It's called respect.

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