Wommack facing a different challenge this week in MSU's air attack

Last week against LSU, Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack had to mainly worry about Leonard Fournette and the Tigers' running game. This week, against yet another rival in Mississippi State, Wommack is gearing his defense to slow Bulldog QB Dak Prescott and a quality receiving corps.

"Mississippi State has an explosive offense. They are throwing the ball more than they have in the past and Dak has really improved his passing," said Wommack. "He's gotten better and better reading defenses and throwing to the right people. He goes through his progressions better now than he has in the past and we all know what a threat he is running the ball. Football is about confidence and he is really showing a lot of confidence right now. Early in the year, I think he started slowly, but I think that was the pressure of the Heisman talk and all that. Now, he has settled in nicely and is really playing top quality football.

"They also have a nice group of receivers and Holloway has really added a speed dimension to their offense. Their receivers have good size and they have gotten better as the year has progressed."

The Rebels put together a solid - not great, but solid - defensive effort against LSU and Dave is hoping that will carry over to the Egg Bowl in Starkville.

"We have practiced really well. Usually after a physical game like LSU we have to spend a day getting the soreness out and going easy on them, but their bodies were ready to go. They have shown a lot of energy. I think they are anxious to play this game," Dave continued. "I think that sometimes happens when you have several guys out or you are banged up - someone steps up and rallies the troops. We saw that last week with DeMarquis Gates and Chief Brown and some others."

Wommack has respect for the job Dan Mullen does in developing offenses and quarterbacks.

"He's had QBs like Tebow and Prescott and he does a good job of fitting his attack to his personnel. This year, he has leaned on Dak to run the ball - 127 times so far, which is a lot for a quarterback, but that is what makes them effective so they do it," Dave explained. "Shumpert and Holloway have picked up their run game and Coach Mullen has adjusted to who he has very well. He does a very nice job with that."

Last week, the Rebels were geared to stop the run with Leonard Fournette coming to town. This week, more of a passing attack with a side order of Dak running the ball.

"The challenge we face every week is to adjust to the style we are facing, but that's why we are in the system we are in. Most of the time, it's fairly easy to adjust. We tweak things according to who our opponet is but it's not like we have to do a complete overhaul," he stated. "Also, this week, we will have an extra day to work on things so I expect good execution."

The Rebels had a good plan against the Bulldogs last year, but this is a different offense with a different mindset.

"They get the ball out quicker and let those receivers catch the ball and run with it," Wommack closed. "It will definitely be a major challenge this week because we did not fare well against Arkansas, who also got the ball out quickly. I will be anxious to see how much we learned."

Changing gears with a style change will be one of the earmarks of this year's Egg Bowl.

Wommack believes the Rebel defense will be up to the task.


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