Goal: Get Better
Werner had a great quote at intermission of the Boise game.
"You can't play any worse and we are still ahead," he told his troops.
No truer words were ever spoken after the Rebels committed three turnovers, all interceptions, and had countless (7) false starts.
"If there is a bright side," he reflected Wednesday after practice, "it's that we ended on a high note. I prefer that to starting hot and then playing poorly at the end."
So that leaves the Rebel offense with two things on their minds - getting better and playing good football for four quarters.
"Football is all about four quarters. The big things, obviously, were the penalties and turnovers, so those are the big things we are working on," he continued. "If we had minimized those against Boise, we would have had a pretty good game and all those things are correctable."
Next up, Vandy.
Dan said to not let the lopsided loss to Temple fool you, at least not from a Vanderbilt defensive standpoint.
"You look at the score and think it was a blowout, but Temple only had about 350 yards of offense and Vandy's defense was dealing with a short field on several occasions due to turnovers by the offense," he explained. "These guys are good on defense. We know that from years past."
Vandy's base defense is a 3-4 look, employed a lot in the NFL.
"You can do so many things out of it. They will still bring four rushers, but you are never sure where the fourth one is coming from. In the run game, they slant and do different things that can cause you problems if you aren't tuned in and recognizing what they are doing," he noted.
Recently, Derrick Jones has been working half the time on offense at wideout and half the time at cornerback on defense.
Werner has been lobbying to get him on offense since Jones was signed last year.
"He's such a good athlete. Great hands and he can really run," Dan said. "I'm glad we've got him. He's got a lot to learn, but he'll be ready to go and I can see him getting 10-15 snaps."
Dan reiterated what OL Coach Matt Luke said Tuesday that he would play more offensive linemen against Vandy.
"We wanted to do that against Boise, but with them moving their defensive linemen around and heat not being a factor in the dome, we stayed with the older guys," he stated. "This week, with heat anticipated, some of the backups will be called on and they will have to step up and go."
First-time starting Center Ben Still had some low shotgun snaps in the Boise game.
"I think the combination of the DL movement by the Boise line, which we hadn't prepared for, and going to the silent snap messed with his mind a little, but we have worked those kinks out this week, we believe," Werner commented.
Werner was asked about the big game by Slot Receiver Cody Core and his emergence in August.
"We always knew he was a good player, we just had better, older receivers in front of him early in his career. In August, he stepped up and won the job and he was big for us against Boise with two TD catches," Werner added. "He is taking advantage of his opportunity."
Werner also noted freshman Markell Pack is getting close to being more of a factor in the slot WR rotation.
"He's doing a good job. We need him to develop quickly to help the depth at our wideout slots and he's doing that," said Dan.
Werner anticipates the Rebs continuing to use four running backs - Jaylen Walton, Jordan Wilkins, I'tavius Mathers and Mark Dodson.
"They can all do different things well and we want to keep them fresh. I thought Jordan did great in his first college game. It carries weight with us that he can move the pile," Werner smiled.
Many believe teams show the most improvement from game one to game two in a season.
Dan Werner is banking on that being the case with the Rebel offense.
After the Boise game, it's all about getting better."
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