Rebel OC Dan Werner knew what the first question after the 76-3 win over UT-Martin was going to be. . .
. . . coach, how did the quarterbacks do?
"I thought Chad (Kelly) was very accurate other than a couple of shots in the end zone he missed," assessed Werner postgame, prior to watching game film. "He made good decisions and I was proud of that.
"All of the quarterbacks played good. I didn't see any major mistakes. They protected the football and made good throws and good reads. All three had a couple of throws that could have been batter, but I was happy for all three."
The results of game, Werner said, was why it's been such hard decision to determine the starter.
"People thought we were blowing smoke about the race for the starting quarterback being close, but I think everyone could see why today," he continued. "Chad's accuracy with the deep ball has given him a slight edge to this point."
Werner liked the look of the OL, despite not having Laremy Tunsil, despite having to shuffle players around and despite starting a true freshman (Javon Patterson) and a redshirt freshman (Sean Rawlings).
"We gave up no sacks, we ran for over 300 yards and the quarterbacks had plenty of time to throw. I'd say that's a good day by the offensive line," he added. "We obviously missed Laremy - he's one of the best OL I have ever had the pleasure of coaching, but as a group, we looked pretty sharp."
The surprise of the day was a heavy set featuring Robert Nkemdiche at tailback, Buchanan throwing to him in the flat and the big DT rumbling 31 yards for a score.
"We want a heavy package besides Jeremy Liggins in the shotgun. We put Robert and D.J. Jones in the backfield, but we wanted to show that we can throw out of it too to keep defenses honest. It worked like a charm," Dan continued.
Overall, it was a good day, but Werner said to not get too giddy.
"These games are good for the most part, but they can give you a false sense of yourself too," he closed. "I am glad we ran the ball well. I am glad we spread the wealth with different guys getting the ball and scoring. I am glad all the quarterbacks did a nice job and nobody got hurt, but things are only going to get tougher."
DC Dave Wommack liked the fact that he got to play everyone dressed out who isn't redshirting, injured or suspended and for the most part he was pleased they all produced.
"It's nice to be 1-0. It's nice to have emptied the bench. I thought it could have been crisper at times, but you expect that with the first game," Wommack stated. "The tackling could have been better, but we didn't tackle a lot in August camp.
"After the first game, you can point some things out on the film on tracking better and getting to the ball quicker and it will help. I thought we were wise not to tackle to the ground much in August to keep everyone healthy, but I knew we would suffer a little today because of that, and that's OK."
The Rebs played without MLB C.J. Johnson, who was suspended for the game for breaking team rules.
"I thought the first couple of guys - Christian Russell and Terry Caldwell did real well, but we had some busts beyond them, which was expected," Dave stated. "Our depth was huge because it was really hot out there on that field.
"We rotated those big guys up front liberally and they all played well. Chris Kiffin has done a great job of developing those guys and it's great to be able to trust all of them in just about every situation."
Channing Ward started at defensive end ahead of Fadol Brown, but Wommack said not to read anything into that.
"Fadol missed four days of practice last week for a death in his family and we thought it was only fair to start Channing," Dave explained. "They are pretty even though, when all is said and done."
Any regrets about the game?
"Oh, I thought it was a good showing for a first game and considering how many people we played," Wommack closed. "I'll take it."
Not much to complain about when you win 76-3. . . .
Coordinators (Obviously) Happy
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