The Ole Miss offense continues to do the box step - that all junior high boys learn when trying to figure out dancing - with opposing defenses.
One step forward, one step sideways, one step back, one step sideways, one step forward. . .
"We are doing some good things in the passing game, we are doing some good things in the run game, and we are moving the ball fairly efficiently, but we haven't been consistent in any phase and we haven't been consistent in the Red Zone," said Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner. "I have been very pleased with the deep passing, something we have worked on hard since last year, but we can't live by that alone.
"We have to do a better job in the run game, period. We have to be more creative with what we are doing - show different formations, create some confusion on defense. We obviously have not been doing that enough to keep people off-balance as much as we should," he continued. "But beyond that, we have to do a better job of executing as well. We've had some simple technique problems up front that we need to take care of.
"For the most part, we are getting a hat on a hat up front, but we aren't handling the guy in front of us due to some technique issues we are going to iron out. Vanderbilt did some different things, but we picked up on those pretty quickly and had it adjusted quickly, but it comes down to blocking the guy in front of you and opening holes. Also, it comes down to everyone doing their part. It isn't all the OL. Our backs have to make the right reads and our skill people have to help in the blocking game. Like I say all the time, and it's true, when the passing game isn't working, it's usually not just the QB. When the running game is not working like you want it to, it's not just the OL."
Werner and the Rebel staff are in a wait-and-see situation at QB with starter Seth Adams suffering a shoulder injury in the Vandy game. He says he'll play against Florida. The coaches aren't so sure.
"We'll practice Brent Schaeffer and Michael Herrick and keep any eye on Seth's progress," Werner stated. "If Seth can get a day or so in, I think he's old enough and mature enough in our system to play, but the final decision will be up to Coach O. If we think he can play, he'll play."
The odds are, if Adams can't go, Schaeffer will be the guy, but it will be based on this week's practice.
"We'll give both of them the necessary reps and see who surfaces," he said.
Schaeffer went in against Vandy after Adams took himself out and threw a long TD bomb to tighten the game up, but from there he was fairly ineffective under a heavy rush to close out the game.
"It was phenomenal for him to step in and throw that perfect long pass," Dan continued. "At the end, we had some protection issues and Brent could have helped himself out by seeing some things quicker, but he was in a tough spot in a crucial situation."
Werner said, if it comes down to it, he has faith in Schaeffer.
"He has matured and he's done everything we've asked. Brent could have tanked it not being the starter after starting last year, but he hasn't. He's worked hard," Dan continued. "Anytime you have a starter who is demoted, you wonder how they will react, but Brent has been a team guy all the way during this.
"I look for him and Michael to do the best job they can this week in practice and to lead the team if Seth cannot go."
The task ahead is significant - the #3 Florida Gators.
"Florida is very similar schematically to us on defense and they are big, fast and physical, as you would expect from the number three team in the country," Werner closed. "They are young at some positions, but those guys played a lot last year. They are all athletic - a typical SEC upper echelon defense.
"We have to execute consistently and make plays when they are there to be made. I think we have shown we can make plays and we can be effective in all phases of the game now that even our deep passing game has come around, but we have to do it on a consistent basis. That's what we will continue to strive to do until we get it right, hopefully by this Saturday."
Dan Werner -
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