Rebel coordinators seemed dazed and confused after 37-24 loss to Memphis

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner and Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack looked like they had been hit by a truck when they met the press after the 37-24 loss to Memphis at Liberty Bowl Stadium

What could Wommack say after Memphis riddled his defense  to the tune of 491 yards, 31 first downs and 12 or 20 third down coversions, not to mention 37 points?

The outcome was no surprise with those kinds of numbers and the way the Rebel defense tackled, or more acurately, didn't tackle.

"The tackling was shocking. We didn't execute on third downs. They beat us badly on third downs and until we get that figured out, we are not going to be a very good defense," said Dave. "We've got to have better coaching, better play and better everything."

Wommack was asked if there was a lack of focus on his defense, usually a strength of the Rebel program.

"It has been for a month now," he said bluntly and somewhat surprisingly. "I am standing here as the DC and I wish I could tell you why we don't seem to be locked in, but I can't figure it out right this minute. All I can tell you is we missed so many tackles it is ridiculous and our coverage was very poor. We have to be able to do better, on all fronts, than we did today."

Back to tackling. . . the Achilles heel of the day. . . 

"We had a really physical spring and came out of spring a pretty good tackling team. We didn't tackle much in August because we didn't want to get players hurt that close to the season and felt the residual from the spring would be there, but we did not carry it into the season. We will have to rethink how much we work it from this point on because the exhibition of tackling, or not tackling, we saw today was, as I said, shocking," Wommack added.

But there was also the matter of poor coverage. . . . 

"I told the guys in the locker room after the game that their #3 (Anthony Miller) and #5 (Mose Frazier) combined for nearly 20 catches (18 to be exact). They obviously wanted to make plays more than we did," Dave closed. "We are going to have to do some things live with some scout team players or something because you can't win games tackling and covering like we did today."

Werner looked just as shell-shocked as Wommack.

"Whatever we are doing is not working as consistently as it neds to be to win games," said Werner. "Whether it is making bad play calls, making bad reads, not blocking well, not hitting the holes, dropped passes - whatever, we have to get it fixed moving forward because we are better than this."

The Rebels jumped on Memphis early with a58-yard double pass from Chad Kelly to Laquon Treadwell to Quincy Adeboyejo and then a 23-yard Kelly to DeMore'ea Stringfellow TD pass. With almost 10 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Rebs led 14-0. They would not score again until seven minutes to go in the third quarter, the equivalent of over a half of the game against a defense known to be porous.

"We had an interception and two failed fourth down tries in that time frame. We dropped some passes as well," Dan stated. "We got some holding calls on one possession that killed it. All the while, we are losing momentum and they are gaining confidence.

"I thought we were OK at halftime but then we sputtered some before we got points in the third quarter. For the game, our third down conversions were 4-13. That is not good enough. It's almost like if we don't get a first down on the first two downs, we can't get it done often enough."

But if you want to look for the "Rebel killer," check out this stat - 24 rushes for 40 yards.

"Again, what we are doing is not working. We have to get it fixed - in a hurry," he closed.

Sounds like the Rebel coordinators know the issues plaguing them intimately, but they are struggling to find the cures and the answers.

Back to the drawing board because a darn good Texas A&M team awaits.


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