Arkansas 'comes right at you' says Rebel DC Dave Wommack

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack, who coached at Arkansas a few years, says his Rebel defense is going to have to go through another transition game against the Hogs, meaning another week, another style of offense, but this year, versus last year, with a twist.

"You play Texas A&M and their spread offense, then you face Auburn's tempo with a good balance and now Arkansas who comes right at you. It's another transition week in the SEC - nothing new," Wommack deadpanned. "Arkansas always has outstanding running backs, they have an offensive line that is as good as anyone's in our league and QB Brandon Allen has become an excellent manager of the game due to his  experience. I think he has more starts than any QB in our league and that is important.

"This year, they still come right at you, but they also have developed balance. I think that is because the trust they have in Brandon."

Before going any further in the interview, Wommack was pleased to announce that Husky Tony Conner would be back in some capacity this week after being sidelined since the Alabama game.

"We almost played him last week, but we thought another week of conditioning would do him more good," Dave noted. "We won't go full bore with him, but he's prepared the way he did before the injury. We are going to use him, but we will have a Plan B and C as well.

"We have really missed him. He's such a good tackler, he can cover, he can blitz. He does so many things well at a position that is critical to us. We don't know what we can get out of him yet, but we are glad he's available in some capacity."

Moving on, last week the Rebel defense gave us several explosive plays, which Wommack critiqued.

"We overran one on a screen pass. The second one - the only TD of the game they scored, was on me because I was changing personnel and didn't do so in time for the guys to get the defensive call. We had a couple of MAs too. You are going to have a couple of those a game, but we had seven in that one," he explained. "We call an explosive play anything over 20 yards. We have not been giving many up, but we just weren't as sharp as we had been in that area.

"On the other hand, we were very good on third downs (2-15) and really good in the Red Zone. That's the way it goes though - you shore one thing up one week and something else pops up the next week."

In the past two weeks, the Rebels have turned things around in several ways, Dave stated.

"I didn't think we were playing as a team in the Vandy game and then Florida shocked us. Then I thought we got too negative with the players in our coaching approach - I know we did on defense," Dave stated. "After the game at Memphis, where we played tight and without any confidence and splintered, we regrouped as a staff and went back to having fun with the guys. We have more unity now as a team and our leadership has grown. Consequently, what we have put on the field the past couple of weeks has been a more confident team."

The next step for the defense, according to Wommack, is to play a complete game.

"We were close against A&M, but we need to be more consistent in every phase of the game. I think we are now tackling better. We are more confident on third downs and we are doing pretty good in the Red Zone. Now if we can knock out those explosive plays and keep donig what we've been doing in the other areas, we can put together a compete game," Dave noted.

Roadblock number one: Arkansas.

"This will be a different brand of football we haven't played since the physical nature of Alabama. It will be a challenge. TB Alex Collins is a challenge. TE Hunter Henry is outstanding. They have good wideouts. Brandon is playing very efficiently and their line is really good," he closed. "I think they are really good, but I think everyone in this league is pretty even most of the time.

"We will have to be ready for a different brand of football, but that is the fun of the SEC. You have to have a system and the players that can adapt and hold up aginst every style of offense. We think we have that."


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