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The Rebels fought hard against Auburn but the results were the same

OC Dan Werner and DC Dave Wommack couldn't have been prouder of the way the Rebels fought hard against Auburn, but they got the same results they have gotten against every upper echelon team - not enough to get a win.

The Rebel offense ran roughshod over Auburn's vaunted defense for 570 yards. Quarterback Chad Kelly broke Archie Manning's 56-year old single game passing yardage mark with 465 yards passing. 

You'd think that would spell a win, but as has been the case this year, even that kind of effort isn't enough as Ole Miss fell 40-29 after being limited to just one TD in the second half after scoring 22 points and holding a two-point lead at intermission.

"This is how our season has gone so far. I guess the Good Lord has put us in this position for a reason,but we are trying to figure out why," said Reb Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner. "We are going to find a way to get it right, we are going to keep fighting.

"We were moving the ball almost at will against one of the better defenses in the country, but we just came up short. Change two plays and it is probably a different outcome, but it's my job to figure out how to correct those things and get us a win."

The two plays Werner was referring to was a late drop by TE Evan Engram for a walk-in TD that would have given the Rebs a 36-33 lead with roughly eight minutes to go. On the next play, Kelly, who had a magnificent night, threw his lone pick and it was returned deep into Rebel territory. Auburn punched in a TD and that was the final score - 40-29.

"We played hard. Coach (Hugh) Freeze had us ready to play. It is my job to get us ready from an X and O standpoint, mentally," he said. "We have to find a way as coaches to get our guys in the right position to make those winning plays."

Dan was also disappointed when a 4th-and-1 at the Auburn 3 was stopped short when the coaches inserted Jason Pellerin at QB to run the Wildcat.

"We had a good play called, but we had an issue up front with an Auburn twist and we got stopped," he noted. "Like I said, we were right there and just couldn't get over the hump, which has been the case this year so far."

Without Rod Taylor available and with Jordan Sims hobbled and Sean Rawlings getting nicked during the game, the offensive line was shorthanded, but Werner was pleased with the way they held up.

"Auburn has one of the best fronts in college football. Their numbers prove it. I was really proud of our OL. Matt Luke has had to piece some things together and they held up against a tremendous defensive line," he stated. "To give Chad the time to throw it the way he did, that's a testament to those guys. We also had enough of a run game to keep Auburn honest and open up some lanes to throw in."

The bottom line from an offensive standpoint, however, is that the Rebs once again had problems scoring in the second half.

"We have definitely had some second half blues as far as getting in the end zone, but we will keep plugging until we get it right," he closed.

Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack saw the same story, different verse as the Rebel defense gave up 307 yards rushing, 236 of those to Kamryn Pettway, the SEC's leading rusher, and another 500-plus yardage total offense outing.

"The kids played hard for us tonight, but it was the same result. We are obviously not coaching them good enough. We just have to keep battling," he said, "as a man, as a coach, as a player - keep fighting.

"If we all want to badly enough, we will come out of it."

Wommack said he is not trying to put it all on the linebackers, but that's where the biggest issues are.

"We've tried everyone we can think of, simplified, worked different combinations and we can't seem to get it right," he continued."Maybe we haven't stuck with two or three long enough, I don't know, but it's my job to figure out why.

"I started Taylor Polk and Willie Hibbler tonight. Polk gets us lined up and will fit his gaps, but he's not as big as you'd like. Willie has been coming along as the future and maybe he wasn't ready for this test. It is big boy football right now and he's a big body, but he may not be ready for the Auburn's of the world. We have tried to simplify as much as we can, but you have to have be a little multiple in this league.

"We have a combination of mental problems and talent problems, but apparently I am not putting them in position to win. That is my responsibility - I recruited and coached them, so it's on me. I have to do better in both areas."

Dave said he's far from giving up.

"If we can keep these kids playing as hard as they did tonight, we will get better. We will get over the hump," he closed.

But for now, the Rebels have made a habit of going to the top of the mountain, but sliding back down before they can get over the peak.

 


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