Rebel Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner defended his senior QB, Seth Adams, when discussing the 10 interceptions credited to Seth's "account" in the last three games.
"Some were his fault, some were not. He's done a good job for us this year, a real good job. As I have said a hundred times to you guys (the media) it's usually a combination of things," Werner stated. "A couple of times the receivers did not do the right things, a couple of times the protection broke down and a couple of balls were tipped and then picked off.
"Seth made a couple of bad reads and throws, and he has to understand we need to protect the ball better, but we have to be realistic in evaluating who is doing what, attack that area and get it corrected. It hasn't been him in some instances."
Rebel Coach Ed Orgeron said Adams would be on a shorter leash now. Werner was asked what that entails.
"If he makes a good decision and someone just makes a great play on him, that's part of football and we won't take him out, but if he's not making smart decisions and not doing what we tell him to do, we will look at making a change, but I don't expect that to happen," Werner said. "Like I said, he's done a very good job this year and I don't look for that to change. His decision-making has been real good to this point and I look for that to continue."
Backup QB Brent Schaeffer got a lot of playing time in the Arkansas game and he produced the Rebs' only score with a long pass to - who else? - Mike Wallace. Did Schaeffer's performance give Dan any more confidence in last year's starter?
"I don't think my confidence was ever lacking. Let's not forget he was our starter all last year. If we continue to turn the ball over, we have felt all along we have a viable option in Brent," he explained, "but I have not lost any faith in Seth."
Dan said this week's task of fixing things will start up front.
"Our pass protection was not as good as it has been. We need to get that cleaned up. It was mostly mental. We have to play sharper because Arkansas was not giving us anything we hadn't prepared for," Dan continued. "We just have to work to get back to playing sharp like we have in a lot of games this year."
The run game was doing "OK" last Saturday until the Hogs got way up and the Rebels had to throw more than they wanted to in the original gameplan.
"The game got out of hand so fast we had to abandon the run game and I thought we were doing a good job with that early on," he stated. "If the game had been closer, I think we would have had a good day running the ball and throwing off play-action. The way it panned out, Arkansas knew we had to throw and they came after us."
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is on pace to gain roughly 1,200 yards this year, but the overall inconsistency of the run game has been frustrating to Werner.
"Everything is frustrating when you aren't winning, but we do feel we have improved some things since last year. We do need to be more consistent in everything we do, including the run game, but we will keep working hard to get there," he noted. "Ben is a very solid, hard-nosed runner. Even if a gap is filled, we feel BenJarvus is going to get 4 or 5 yards and if there is a hole there, he's going to pop it. I think he can play on the next level. He's tough and he's going to get the tough yards that are there to be gained."
Fans ask often about some of the younger players not getting enough bites at the apple. Guys like TB Cordera Eason and WR Lionel Breaux, for instance. What is Dan's take on getting them more PT from here on in?
"We seem to always be in a close game and we want our best players out there in those cases. And last week, we were way behind and needed to score some points to keep our confidence level a little bit heading into Auburn. Right now, we have to do what's best for the team, not individuals," he evaluated. "I wish we could get a big lead and put some of those guys in for some quality reps, but so far we haven't had that situation. It's hard to balance doing what's best now versus building for the future. Right now, we are just trying to score points and use our best players to do it.
"If we get the right opportunity, we will give those guys some reps and I have faith they will produce."
Werner feels the Rebs are at a stage in the building of the program that they have to play very close to their best to be in games and give themselves a chance to win.
"When we have played good football, the kind of football we are capable of playing, we have been right there. When we haven't, the games have not been as close," he closed. "Some teams can slop around and still win, but we can't. We preach to our players that we have to play our best game every Saturday to get wins."
Dan Werner -
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