A Step Forward

As is the case with every game - win, lose or draw, the Ole Miss Rebel coordinators saw things that needed "cleaning up" after the one-sided, 73-21 victory over Fresno State, but they were also quick to point out it was a step forward as Alabama looms.

Moving forward. . . .

That's what coordinator always want - for their side of the ball to play a little bit better than they did the week before.

The Rebels did just that.

And while there are rough spots to iron out on both sides of the ball before the Rebs head to Tuscaloosa, the overall feeling of Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack and Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner was positive.

First Werner.

"One thing I was really pleased with was Chad (Kelly). I think he was 20-25 (80%) for 346 yards and four scores with no picks and he ran for a score," Werner noted. "I'm not sure what the QB rating is for that kind of effort yet, but I guarantee it's high."

Dan was also pleased with the tempo the offense played with early on.

"I loved how fast we played while we were trying to, which was all of the first quarter and then sporadically after that," he explained. "When we were trying to go tempo, we went fast and we were effective.

"It's what we want to do and I liked seeing how we handled it today."

Last week, the Rebs rushed for over 300 yards. This week, 215.

"I couldn't be happier with how we are rushing the ball. Obviously, with respect to our first two opponents, it's about to get real, but so far, I am very, very pleased with the run game," he stated. "I think the run game has led to a lot of the big plays we are making.

"Defenses are having to play honest with our run game and they are also trying to take away Evan (Engram) and that's leaving our other guys with one-on-ones and mismatches.

"Today, we got a couple of mismatches with Quincy Adeboyejo and he scored three times and with Cody (Core) and he scored. It looked easy with the way our run game is making defenses play honest.

"It seems to me, thus far, that defenses are really worried about all our guys and that tends to leave people open. That's when the quarterback has to find the open guy and Chad has done an excellent job of doing that."

Werner's concern - because of injury and suspension - has been the offensive line, but even with some musical chairs going on, Dan is happy.

"We are without Laremy (Tunsil) and Aaron Morris isn't 100% yet and neither is Rod Taylor, but we keep chugging along," he closed. "That is the credit to Matt Luke and the unbelievable job he has done in getting a depleted unit ready to go while moving guys around. It also shows he's done a fine job recruiting because we have some depth - finally.

"Don't get me wrong - we have some areas we have to improve in and we know what we are about to face is much better than what we have faced, but I have to say I am pleased to this point."

Wommack had similar sentiments about the defensive effort.

"I am very proud of our first unit. I think they are playing lights out, but I was disappointed in some of the twos at linebacker and safety," he stated. "We have to step up there and get better when it's time or SEC ball.

"Ones? We've played real well. Twos? We have about seven positions doing very well, but we have got to pick it up at LB and safety, as I said. Fresno was a much better team than UT-Martin and we gave up 14 points to them defensively and one of those was on the second team when we broke down on blitz coverage at the safety spot."

Dave was glad to have MLB C.J. Johnson back in the fold to call the defense.

"We didn't have many issues or breakdowns, but they did not run tempo against us like we had prepared," Wommack stated. "C.J. made a nice interception and return and seemed in control of the situation while he was in there.

"Again, the backups had some breakdowns, not the ones. And again, it wasn't up front."

Dave wanted to see improvement from game one to game two and he got what he wanted - a step forward.

"We were locked in on Friday's walk through. I could see the guys were focused and ready to play," he noted. "I will guarantee you we will be excited for the next game.

"I am sure they will be looking forward to it and will be locked in. It's our job to get them ready for the next game,but I doubt we will have to do much motivating to get ready for Alabama."

Sidebar: By rule, the flag thrown on CB Tee Shepard for targeting was will cost him the first half of the Alabama game, we have been told. In his place, Carlos Davis will move up in the rotation, Dave said.

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