It All Starts Up Front

In 2014, the Ole Miss defensive line - the Sack Men - was formidable, one of the best in the nation. It anchored the number one scoring defense in the country. According to Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack, the 2015 DL, coached by Chris Kiffin, has a chance to be even better.

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack is "old school" about one aspect of defensive football.

As the old football adage goes, it all starts up front. . .

. . . and boy do the Rebel have "it" up front.

"I've coached for a long time, and I thought we had a really nice defensive line last year. I don't want to put any extra stress or onus on Kiff (Chris Kiffin), but I think we can be even better this year up front," Wommack declared. "We have good outside players and good inside players, and enough of them.

"We have a lot of flexibility across the board. We are even going to be able to move Robert (Nkemdiche) outside to end if we need to go bigger. We won't miss a beat if we do. We can line up our personnel in many different ways - a bigger group, a faster group, a balanced group. I think we've got it all up front."

One, well actually two, reasons Wommack feels comfortable talking with such confidence are the additions of defensive tackles Breeland Speaks and JUCO transfer D.J. Jones, a pair of 300-plus-pounders who proved their mettle in spring.

"Both of those guys are quick and explosive and powerful and they really compliment Robert and Issac Gross and Woodrow (Hamilton)," he said. "They round us out inside. As I said, we have so many options inside with different types of players and we have good athletes, special guys I believe."

DE Fadol Brown was named Most Improved in spring football on the defensive side of the ball.

"About two-thirds of the way into last season, Fadol started playing very well. I didn't think he got enough credit last year. Then, in spring, he honed everything. He learned great technique from Kiffin and worked had on the little things," Dave assessed. "He can now just turn it loose.

"I also thought Channing Ward and John Youngblood improved a great deal in spring too. Marquis Haynes had a big spring as well. As I told you then, he didn't get much bigger, but he got a lot stronger and is able to hold up better against the run than he could last year. He's more of an every down DE now than he was a year ago. Victor Evans is also coming on nicely and don't forget, C.J. (Johnson) is also going to be a pass-rush option for us on passing downs at DE."

Wommack said he thinks of "10 or 11 guys" up front as starters.

"Every one of them brings something to the table that makes them worthy of being tabbed a starter, in my opinion," he closed.

If indeed "it all starts up front," which has been proven time and time again throughout the history of college football, the Rebel defense is off to a great start.

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