Wommack's Assessment

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack met the media after practice Wednesday. Here is a Q & A with him.

Ole Miss defensive coordinator Dave Wommack:

* On what has helped Marquis Haynes improve – "I just think his raw talent. Speed and quickness. He’s done a good job of learning what we’ve asked him to do. We’ve got depth there with C.J. (Johnson). Dangling that carrot, (Haynes) gets a lot of playing time. In certain packages (he will start at one end spot)."

* On Mike Hilton going back and forth between positions: "I wish we didn’t have to. Mike’s a veteran. He’s played husky for two years and corner. So I think he’s handled it great. Very few mistakes out of Mike."

* On if that hinders Hilton's progress or any player's progress: "Always. I think anytime you’ve got to double train somebody, it’s hard to just get totally focused on one thing. Again, I’m glad he’s a veteran and been here for two years. You couldn’t do that with a young guy for sure."

* On the defensive line rotation: "We’d like to play eight or ten of them if we can. I think we’ll be in a position to do that, certainly with all the personnel packages we can run against people. I’ve been really pleased with the defensive line all through fall camp."

* On not having Issac Gross currently: "You lose the quickness in there. Kudos to Bryon Bennett. I’ve never seen Bryon Bennett play as well as he’s playing right now across the board. He’s got some size and quickness, and he’s just really been super in there. So I’ve really been pleased with him. Again it affects your depth."

* On Woody Hamilton: "Woody’s issue has always been staying out there on the field. If he stays out there on the field, he’s a really good football player. He’s extremely tough to block. He’s not just an anchor. He’s got some quickness and he can move around. He fits our scheme really well."

* On the defense a week before the first game: "I’m excited about them, just to see them play. I think you don’t ever like that old saying ‘We’re tired of beating on each other.’ But we’re tired of beating on each other a little bit. And I think it’s time to totally get their legs under them and go. I think they're extremely anxious for this first game. I know they are."

* On possibly being more aggressive in the defensive play-calling this year: "Oh I think so. We’ve always (wanted to be) somewhere around 30 to 40 percent pressure, which means bringing five or more. Last year it was about 27 to 28 percent. It was down for us. We absolutely want to get back to that. Last year there was the pass rush that we didn’t have, if you will. And also the corners we lacked, the corner play we needed. So yes, absolutely. I think Boise is going to see some things they hadn’t seen us do the last two years."

* On approaching Boise State with a new head coach there and other possibilities they bring: "We really approach it as just studying a lot of different things. The (offensive) coordinator is from Stanford. We’ve looked at lots and lots of film. We’ve narrowed it down to see what we think is going to fit the best and what was consistent for them. We’re going to work their favorite plays and what they want to do, and get our guys out there and play hard. I don’t think it will be as much about what they do as what we do and how we approach it. So if we’ll play fast and eliminate mistakes, we’ll be fine."

* On how he feels about the secondary: "Better than I have in three years. Really pleased with the guys. We’ve got some guys that can cover. We’ve got some smart guys and can create different packages with those guys. I think this is a better defensive team than has been around here in the last couple of years."

* On roles for some of the freshmen: "With the loss of Chief (Brown) this summer, we really didn’t expect A.J. (Moore) to step up as fast as he did. That’s taken some of the pressure off of Mike. So we have really three guys we feel comfortable with. He’s done a great job of learning what he’s supposed to do. I feel totally comfortable going into the game. (DeMarquis) Gates, the same thing. There are two or three freshmen, (Kendarius) Webster is another one, they’ve pushed forward and gotten better every day and they’re going to play for us this year."

* On redshirting any newcomers: "We haven’t made any decisions yet. I think this freshmen class was a hit. Across the board from top to bottom I think it’s better than last year’s class. I know there were some stars in the class before it and this and that. But top to bottom, I don’t think we missed on anybody. We’ve got some really good football players."


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