In Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference, O said Ole Miss Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner called "probably his best game of the year" against Alabama last Saturday.
Dan smiled when he heard that, but didn't make too much of it.
"I don't grade myself on playcalling. Playcalling is something you work on all week. I have a real good idea what I'm going to call before the game ever starts in every situation. I have it written down. Of course, you have to make adjustments during a game, but playcalling can be overrated at times," he stated. "I know this, you are a great playcaller when the play you call works, but you are not very good when the play doesn't work.
"I can gurantee you that in my career I have had games where I made great calls and they didn't work and you look dumb. And I have had games where I made terrible calls and a back or someone would make a play and I would look really smart. If you execute, every play is a good call. If you don't execute, it was a bad call. Bar none, playcalling is the most overrated aspect of football."
Regardless, Saturday's effort against Alabama almost went into "real good" category.
That's kind of surprising to the layman because QB Seth Adams was very sick during the game, but he performed admirably.
"He could barely hold his head up at times, but he showed how touch he is and that he wants to compete and show what he can do regardless of the circumstances," Dan noted. "I'm so proud of the way he has played all year. He made a couple of mistakes Saturday, but he gave us a chance to win and fought as hard as he possibly could. He almost made it happen."
Was it a benchmark for Seth and the offense to have finally put together a drive at the end of a game to win it, only to have an apparent catch overruled?
"I was proud of that drive, but it would have been a benchmark if we would have won. We didn't, so you can't say that. The thing with Seth is that he has been consistent, he had put us in good situation all year and the guys believe in him," Werner continued. "Now, we need to take that next step."
The last couple of weeks, however, the interceptions thrown by Adams have increased. Is that a concern?
"Of course it is," Dan said. "I've got to look closer at one I'm calling. We are throwing it downfield more than before and have opened things up more as we feel guys can handle it. Donfield is where those interceptions are taking place, so I have to be smart in the position I put the players in when we throw downfield."
Dan watched the Arkansas-Auburn game Saturday night and was impressed what he saw out of the two teams the Rebs will face next - the Pigs here Saturday and the Tigers at Auburn two Saturdays from now.
"Those were two fine defenses flying around making plays Saturday. Arkansas' defense is very fast. They play a lot of man coverage and bring their linebackers up to the line of scrimmage to mess with your blocking schemes," Dan stated. "We will have to be sharp with our line calls and recognition.
"We feel with the success we have had against man coverage defenses should be a little nervous about playing a lot of man, but that's just what Arkansas does. That's their plan, so we have to execute against it."
In the past the Razorbacks have been somewhat unconventional on defense. Werner said they have shelved some of that philosophy this year.
"They are not as unconventional as they have been in the past, but like I said, they still walk those backers up and give you a lot of different looks. They walk them up into gaps that force you to block a play totally different than it's drawn up. They will try to mess with you and you have to be sharp, as I said," he added.
The Rebel running attack came to life somewhat against Alabama. Werner said it was the best job by the OL all year.
"We got hats on hats and we read their defense well. We were able to slow their LBs down a little by running some boots and nakeds, which helped our cause in the run game," he assessed.
Werner is excited about the way the passing game has evolved this year.
"We spent enough time on it, that's for sure," he said. "It's paid off in production but not in wins and that's what we are concerned with.
"I don't look at what we've done as successful. We have moved the ball well, that's true, but when you aren't winning it can't be defined as a success. I am very pleased with the what the wideouts have achieved, but we need more from everyone to start scoring enough points to win."
Werner was asked about the final call of the Alabama game. He didn't have much of a direct comment about it.
"All I can do is put my guys in position to make plays. I can't worry about things out of my control. All I know is that if we hadn't had a couple of picks earlier and had done some things better when we had the opportunity earlier, that question would not even come up," he closed.
Dan Werner -
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