Chad Kelly and Dan Werner

OC Dan Werner likes early practice look

After a couple of days of fall practice, Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Dan Werner likes what he sees, despite having the daunting task of replacing seven starters from last year's offense.

WR Cody Core - gone.

WR Laquon Treadwell - gone.

OL Laremy Tunsil, Aaron Morris, Fahn Cooper, Justin Bell, Ben Still - gone.

RB Jaylon Walton - gone.

Most offensive coordinators, faced with that realizations, would be +howling at the next year's prospects.

Not Rebel OC Dan Werner. While he acknowledges the loss, he doesn't fixate on it.

"Wea re replacing a lot of guys, but I have seen what I wanted to see in terms of retention from spring training," Werner began his assessment. "Spring went well and I like the carry over. Chad (Kelly), all the quarterbacks really, haven't missed a beat and you can just see that our guys know what is happening.

"We are not having to teach the plays, we are able to teach the finer points now. We are able to get to some things now that we haven't been able to in the past because of the learning curve. We are further along now."

Dan threw down a challenge to the offensive personnel prior to fall camp.

"I told them we set a lot of records last year, but we lost seven starters. I challenged them to step up and I believe they have and will," he stated. "Across the board, I feel we are pretty deep except for offensive line because that is where we were hit the hardest, but even on that front, we have a lot of young guys up front who we have a lot of confidence in. 

"I'm happy with the guys we have. I love our attitude, I love our talent and I love how these kids are attacking things right now, all the way from the older guys to our younger players. We have some true freshmen who look really good and some older guys who look good and everything in between."

Dan was asked to look into his crystal ball and predict a couple of youngsters who could make an impact in 2016.

"The depth at receiver makes it tough on the three freshmen, but A.J. (Brown), D.K. (Metcalf) and Tre' (Nixon) are all going to be big time players here in time," he began. "Of course, I am pleased with both our backups QBs (Shea Patterson/Jason Pellerin). (TE Octavious) Cooley is going to be a great player here in time. He is so big, he's so smooth and he has such good hands. I like all the offensive linemen we signed, and we may need one or two of them this year because of our lack of depth."

At running back, Werner knows what Akeem Judd and Jordan Wilkins can do and he likes it, but he's also intrigued to put the ball in the hands of redshirt freshman Eric Swinney, who made a lot of noise running over defenders in spring training.

"We are going to test those guys this month and I feel certain we are going to put the ball in his hands some. Eric will lower his pads and just run guys over, to the point where we have told him to try to make some defenders miss every once in a while. He loves contact," Dan stated. "If it's 2nd-and-4 and he runs over someone for 4 yards, it gets the team fired up and it gets the crowd fired up, That is something we have not had a lot of in our tenure here.

"I think we can get Jordan outside some, as well as Eugen Brazley, and I like Akeem as a one-move guy who can be physical and make guys miss. I like our backs."

And, of course, the inevitable Kelly comment.

"In our first skeleton drill, he completed his first 12 passes. He's so much further along now than he was a year ago," Werner closed. "I'm anticipating him having another banner season."

Yep, Werner and the offensive staff are replacing 70-plus percent of last year's offense, a fact that some OC's would bemoan.

Not Dan.

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