The Arkansas Razorbacks, as of this writing, have not won an SEC game this year, but Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner is not letting that fool him.
"I watch their film. I see their defensive stats against some of the top teams in our league. They have done a nice job against some really good offenses," Werner began. "I hate to sound the same every week, but they have a physical defense. In this league, they are all about the same.
"They all have a really good front, they all have athletic guys on the back end and they are all well-coached. I think I say the same thing every week, but it's pretty much true. Arkansas is no different. Look at the Alabama game, the MSU game - they played lights out on defense. We expect nothing less."
Werner said one difference he has noticed, but even that could change, is that the Hogs don't blitz as much as some SEC teams.
"They have a very similar mindset as Presbyterian in that regard and hopefully that will carry over for us," he explained. "Certainly, they have a different level of athlete, but they do a lot of the same things."
In the last two games, the Rebels have been without star Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil. RT Fahn Cooper has taken on that task in those games.
"Not only did Fahn have to play out of position, but we also had to put Robert Conyers in as the starting right tackle and Ben Still played on a bad leg," noted Dan. "(OL Coach) Matt Luke has done an unbelievable job of piecing it all together and patchworking it.
"We knew at the start of the season that depth on the OL was our number one concern. Now that we have had a couple of guys banged up, it's been tough, but they have fought through it and done as well as we could hope."
The Rebels played last Saturday, albeit against a lesser opponent, for the first time without star WR Laquon Treadwell.
"We hate for him and for us that we don't have him, but we always talk about next man up and I think those guys responded well," noted Dan. "Vincent Sanders had another excellent game and it was good to see Derrick Jones step up with five catches, including a real good catch with a man on him for a touchdown."
Werner took note of the 100-plus rushing days of TBs Mark Dodson and Jordan Wilkins against Presbyterian.
"You don't get those kinds of holes to run through in the SEC very often, but they made the most of them and raised themselves up in our eyes with the way they performed," he said.
Both the backup QBs - Ryan Buchanan and Devante Kincade - got quality snaps against Presbyterian. How did they grade out after Dan watched the film?
"Both did very well. They didn't make many mistakes, the balls were where they were supposed to be, they made good decisions and they handled the run game very well. I was pleased with them," Werner evaluated.
Like DC Dave Wommack, Werner devoted a lot of time in the open week to working the basics.
"We usually have an hour of team during practice, but this week we broke that down and worked on all the little things within the scope of offensive football. We did 30 minutes of inside run, pass routes, receiver blocking, proper technique of blocking from every position and so on," noted Werner. "There's no doubt that late in the season you tend to let those little things slip because as coaches we are so intent on getting gameplans installed.
"This open week has been a very good refresher course for us on the little things that make a difference."
OM Spirit Top Stories
Ole Miss Commitment Progress ReportHow did the Ole Miss commitments fare in their contest last week? Read inside.
OM Spirit10:21 AM
Podcast: Answering Ole Miss Mailbag QuestionsIn this edition of the Ole Miss Spirit Podcast, Ben Garrett and Sudu Upadhyay answer listener questions, including the latest on the NCAA investigation, Memphis and more.
OM Spirit9:12 AM
Offensive Line Starting to ClickEven though he's just a sophomore, Ole Miss Right Tackle/Center Sean Rawlings - along with fellow sophs Javon Patterson and Jordan Sims - are some of the leaders in the offensive…
OM SpiritYesterday at 10:00 PM
Friday Focus: Ole Miss vs. Memphis#16 Ole Miss takes on Memphis on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN 2.
OM SpiritYesterday at 4:29 PM