Challenging

DC Dave Wommack

Being two-dimensional - able to run or throw the football - is the goal of most offensive coordinators. Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack believes that is the biggest challenge in dealing with the Mississippi State offense.

When an offense is capable of passing or running the football effectively, it causes more issues for opposing defenses.

It's called offensive balance and Mississippi State's offense has that ingredient, a concern for Rebel Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack.

"They have done a good job. They are a run team with play-action pass and they have good balance," said Wommack. "They run good schemes and mix up their playcalling very well."

Their attack starts with Quarterback Tyler Russell, who has already thrown for more yardage (2,523) in 2012 than any MSU QB has in their history. At a 60.4% completion rate, Russell is also their most accurate passer, single season, in MSU's annals.

"Russell comes to mind first. He has done a good job of managing their offense and throwing the ball. He will stand in there and take shots and has moved their team down the field," Dave allowed. "We can't let him sit back there and throw it. If you do, he will pick you apart. We have to be able to get hits on him, for sure.

"At the very least, you have to pressure him and hit him, whether you sack him or not. Like I said, he's a tough guy who will hang in there. He's probably been hit more than any QB I have seen on film this year, but he keeps coming back. Hitting him is important to affect his game."

Russell's main target is Chad Bumphis, who has 49 catches this year good for 758 yards and an MSU record 10 TDs.

"You have to be aware of Bumphis, but all their top receivers are seniors and do a good job of catching the ball," Dave continued.

In the run game, junior LaDarius Perkins has been their main threat and has been productive against the Rebels in the past.

"Perkins is a tough guy who finds a way. He and (Nick) Griffin both do a good job for them," Wommack stated.


Dave Wommack
File Photo

Wommack is quite aware of the magnitude of the rivalry and of ownership of the Golden Egg.

"It's an exciting game for us, no doubt. I have been a part of other rivalries and it's just huge. For us, it's not just about playing State - which I am not minimizing. It's also a one-game season for us. Win to play another day, lose and it's over. We have a lot riding on this game," he stated.

While the Rebels have been close-and-almost several times, and there are so many what-ifs, Wommack said he will remember this season for a lot of good things.

"We've made a lot of progress because the kids have worked hard and tried to get better every week and I love them for that," Wommack added. "We have had to overcome a lot of injuries - especially on the back end of our defense - but we've ahd guys try to step up and fill in to the best of their ability, which speaks of their character.

"Right now, we are sitting here thinking we could be 8-3, but when we look back on this season in the months to come, we will be proud of what they have accomplished."

Wommack is extremely excited and upbeat about the future, despite some frustrations of this season.

"There have been times when I have not been able to call a game the way I wanted to because of the lack of depth. That's frustrating in terms of not being able to do what you want to do and not having the personnel packages to do what you want to do, but it's also exciting for the future. The kids are fighting and doing the best they can do," Dave said. "Something special is going to happen here real soon.

"With more personnel, which we will get in here, we would definitely be more multiple than we have been this year - with pressures and fronts and coverages. We have had to limit things because we have had guys playing who just haven't done it. Again, they want to fight and win and that's a great start."

Dave is glad he made the move with Hugh Freeze to come to Ole Miss.

"This is my 33rd year coaching and I think this game needs people like Hugh Freeze. He runs this program with Christian values and on faith," Wommack noted. "I love the fact that he does a devotion. For me, that's exactly what I think this profession needs and this is where I want to end my career."

Meanwhile, first things first.

The Egg Bowl and dealing with Mississippi State's balance.

"We'll have to be sharp, no doubt," Wommack concluded.

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