Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack said the Rebels have faced an offense similar to Missouri's. Just last week, in fact, with the Troy Trojans. He was also quick to add there is a major difference in the talent level.

Wommack didn't have to think long when asked which team he has faced has a similar offense to this week's opponent, the Missouri Tigers.

"Troy," he said. "Their schemes are very similar. They have probably compared notes at one time or another."

But scheme is where the similarities end.

"Missouri, obviously, is much better. Their quarterbacks are more athletic, they have those big old wideouts and their running backs are solid."

Having seen a similar scheme just seven days prior, however, is an advantage for the Rebels as they prepare for the No. 8 team in the country.

"There is some carryover from last week. Some things will be easier for our players to grasp because there are those similarities," Wommack noted. "Certainly, we will do some different things as well, but we have some things we will take from the Troy game that our players will have recent familiarity with."

Missouri is expected to play two quarterbacks - senior James Franklin, who has been out for several games but is now ready to roll, and redshirt freshman Maty Mauk, who guided the Tigers in Franklin's absence.

Dave Wommack
Chuck Rounsaville

"There hasn't been a lot of difference in what Missouri has done when they use one or the other. That doesn't mean they won't change things up this week," Wommack added. "Franklin is a little more physical but Mauk is probably a little quicker and faster and moves around a little more in the pocket.

"Both of them are really good players. I have been impressed with the way the young guy came in when the senior got hurt and they didn't seem to miss a beat."

Wommack chuckled when asked about Missouri's wideouts, all in the 6-4 to 6-6 range.

"We are going to have to play basketball with them," he said. "They do a great job as a group. All of them are tall and they all go get the ball.

"It's easy to see when you put on the tape where the strength of their offense is and it's those receivers."

It sounds as if Wommack will be leaning on 6-2 freshman CB Derrick Jones to counteract some of that size advantage.

"I'm so pleased with him. We are getting more out of him this year than I ever thought," Wommack said. "I thought he would be a safety when we recruited him, but he's got great hips and speed.

"Some taller guys can't flip their hips and struggle with change of direction, but Derrick has all those things. He will make a bunch of money one day. I wish we could have redshirted both him and Bobby Hill, but we needed them this year with our injury situation."

While on the subject of freshmen CBs, Wommack expressed his satisfaction with the progress of Hill as well.

"Bobby is also doing real well. He needs to get bigger and stronger, but he's real fast and his change of direction is as good as we have on this team," he added.

Beyond Jones, the Rebel corners - Senquez Golson and Mike Hilton - will be giving up 8-10 inches in height and 30-40 pounds in weight to all of Missouri's top three receivers.

"That's a big concern," said Wommack. "We are doing jump ball drills and we are getting our guys to try to come down through their bodies to maybe knock the ball loose.

"The one thing we can't do, however, is make them any taller. They will just have to battle and work their fundamentals to try to take that height advantage away."

And while covering the vaunted Missouri wideouts seems daunting enough, Wommack and company also have to worry about a Tiger run game that is producing 232 yards a game.

"They spread you out so much. It's a pick your poison deal. If you crowd the box, they go up top. If you play a three-man front or something with less people in the box, they run it and they are effective with both," he explained. "We have to be able to change some things up on them and call things at the right times.

"This will be a really good chess match in what we will try to do and when and what they will counter with."

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