Dan Werner

Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner and his staff and players have a major task on their hands - trying to shake off a couple of sub-par performances while also preparing for one of the top defensive teams in the nation in the Georgia Bulldogs. Read about it inside.

The task seems daunting, if not nearly impossible.

After a good start to the season, the Rebel offense has taken a step, maybe three, backwards in the last three games.

Now Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner and his troops have a double whammy - correcting what has gone wrong recently and facing Georgia's defense, currently ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 6.25 points per game.

"They are definitely going to be the best defense we have faced so far," said Werner. "They are physical, big, strong, fast and well-coached. They have a great scheme. It will be a tough test for us,but one we should relish."

The Rebels, according to Werner, have to focus on Georgia, true enough, but the main focus must be on themselves.

"The way you cope with a Georgia defense is to get better yourself," he explained. "The whole thing we have said since the first day I got here was for us to get better every day, every week, every game. I believe in that, Coach O believes in that and we have to keep on getting our players to believe that. Each week, we have to get better. Obviously, we have not done that since the Memphis game, but that's still what we are striving for, still the main goal.

"If we execute better, we feel we can move the ball on Georgia or anyone. If we do not, we have already shown that we can't sustain much on offense."

After the bad performance against Wake Forest last week, Coach Orgeron mentioned the possibility of seeing more of Seth Adams at QB, who came in and did a nice job against the Demon Deacons in the latter stages of the game. Instead, the coaches have opted to stay with Brent Schaeffer under center.

"Brent gives us the best chance to win. And that's what we are trying to do - win ballgames. At every position, we have to keep getting better, Brent included. We have a lot of guys who have not played a lot of football on this level and we have to stick with them," he continued. "It's not like we are going to start grabbing for straws or doing something desperate.

"Each week, we've had problems, we've identified them and we've tried to correct them, but we still believe in our players and we still believe in our system. Brent will have to deal with some pressure - all QBs in great conferences do. Sure, we need to protect better, but he also has to perform under some pressure."

Wide Receiver Michael Hicks came into last Saturday's game and contributed three catches for 53 yards. Werner said performances like his are what the coaches are looking for.

"He did a nice job making plays. We've got six or seven receivers we think are going to be pretty good. They just have to show it in practice because those are the guys we will play in the games," Werner explained. "Michael had a good week of practice, got an opportunity to play and performed. I'm sure that will help his cause for the future."

Dan said the circumstances of some games have hurt his unit's productivity.

"We have been getting behind and have been forced out of our gameplan at times. When we have gotten behind, we have had to throw a lot and our ideal would be to be more balanced," he noted. "When defenses know we are going to have to throw, they are coming after us and our protections have broken down some.

"We have to be able to establish the running game and get something going early so we don't fall behind."

More on Georgia. . .and the plight of the Rebs.

"I see no weak links on their defense. Their DL is big and aggressive, their linebackers fly around and their safeties and corners are very active. We will have to execute and figure out ways to slow them down and get them off balance," he stated. "Losing is disappointing. We are disappointed in the way we have played, but we are not going to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. If it would help to mope around, I would do that, but it doesn't, so I don't.

"We are facing a big challenge in a great Georgia defense, but it's an opportunity we should all be cherishing. How many times do you get a chance to knock off a Top 10 team in your stadium? Once a year? Maybe twice?"

Werner mentioned he was impressed with what Adams did in his stint.

"I was proud of Seth. He came in his first time in a no-huddle situation. That's putting a lot on him, but he threw the ball well and handled the operation of the offense in no-huddle very well," Dan assessed. "His confidence has to be up."

Werner said there are no magic wands for developing more consistency.

"If I had that magic wand I would have sold it a long time ago and would be a millionaire right now," he smiled. "Consistency problems happen to everyone. You just have to dig out of them. The magic wand is to go back to the drawing board and work harder. For some of these kids, it will take time.

"Consistency starts with the QB. He has to do a better job of leading this offense. Right now, Brent and I are getting criticized, but we understand that is part of it when we both signed up for what we are doing. It's up to us - for starters - to turn this thing around and that's what we intend to to."

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