Confident Reaction

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack deeply respects the Auburn offense. He should - it's potent, averaging 39.3 points per game, but at the same time, he likes the matchup with his defense. Why?

The Ole Miss defense will have to change gears - again - when Auburn invades The Vaught Saturday.

LSU was pure power on offense; Auburn will be more finesse, employing Gus Malzahn's spread/tempo/read option offense that is averaging 39.3 points an outing.

"It seems like every week we have to change gears," said Dave, whose defense leads the nation in scoring defense. "One week it's Alabama, the next Texas A&M, then UT and LSU, now Auburn.

"Now, it's an option type offense coming at you quickly. I like the matchup because it's very similar to our offense that we go against every day. We see a lot of those things daily. They do some things differently, but I think we will have a good plan against them."

The Rebels had a good plan last year against Auburn as well, but the execution was spotty, resulting in a 30-22 loss that some believe propelled the Tigers to the magical season they had in 2013.

"We were out of position several times and they capitalized, especially their QB (Nick Marshall), who gashed us several times. We missed some tackles. We gave up some points, and 375 yards, but they ran the ball too much," Dave assessed.

Wommack said the Tigers have not changed their attack much since last year, but there is some different personnel.

"Their lead personnel is still one back and one tight end, which we call 11 personnel, but they lost a couple of key players. Their offensive line is really good, but they lost a tackle from a year ago who was outstanding and, of course, Tre Mason, the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, is gone," he noted, "but they just reload. They have good football players."

Marshall also draws respect from the Rebel 'D' boss.

"He throws a little better than he did last year. He's just a tremendous athlete who can outrun just about anyone on the field if you don't capture him early," he continued.

Auburn TB Cameron Artis-Payne has rushed for 831 yards in seven games, possibly the quietest 831 yards in the SEC as he is on pace to run for over 1,200 yards this regular season.

"He's a good back, a hard runner. Backs are not their problem. The freshman, Roc Thomas, is also very good. Mason was special, he knew how to use the system to his advantage as well as anyone we have faced, but these guys are good too," Dave allowed.

Wommack believes the improvement in Auburn's offense is at receiver.

"They are more experienced and have been effective. D'Haquille Williams, Sammie Coates, Quan Bray, all those guys, are good. They have a nice receiving corps and is one reason they seem more balanced this year," Wommack evaluated. "They also spread it out more, and that's helped them."

The Rebel defense is a bit banged up this week, with Denzel Nkemdiche out for the year with a broken foot, FS Cody Prewitt resting some rib/shoulder nicks and DT Robert Nkemdiche nursing a sore shoulder, but Cody and Rob are anticipated to play.

"We played a lot of 4-3 last week, but we will play more 4-2 this week and that will help with our depth situation," he explained. "Cody, we are limiting him this week letting him heal. Robert finished practice strong Tuesday."

The Rebs may get a bonus this week, if needed. The return of Husky/Safety Chief Brown.

"He looks good. We knocked some rust off last week and he has come a long way in a short period of time. I think he will be ready to go this week," Wommack mentioned.

Basically, what you have is an explosive offense going against the top scoring defense in the country.

Sets up to be a great matchup.

One that Dave Wommack looks forward to.

"From a defensive standpoint, Auburn is a great challenge, but that's why we play and coach in the SEC," he closed. "I wish Saturday was already here."


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