Landshark defense prepares for LSU game Saturday

Posted on Oct 22 2014 - 7:14am by Cody Thomason

Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze talks to players during football practice in Oxford, Miss., Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. DM Photo | Cady Herring

While Ole Miss is favored to win against 24th-ranked LSU, it seems the Tigers have been improving lately, beating Florida 30-27 before demolishing Kentucky last week by a score of 41-3. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack talked about what he expected from the Tigers Saturday.

“The last two weeks, I think, they’ve really turned back into what they want to be. They have an identity,” Wommack said. “With play action off of it, I think the quarterbacks, especially (Anthony) Jennings, have gotten more comfortable in their offense.”

The Rebels have to prepare for an LSU offense, which is very similar to the offense Alabama runs. Senior linebacker Serdarius Bryant saw similar things from the Tigers’ offense.

“What they try to do is run the ball, and they try to beat you with play-action pass,” Bryant said. “We know they’re going to try and come in and overpower us. We have small players on defense, but our whole defense is about being gap-sound.”

Bryant talked about the key for the Rebel defense to contain the play-action pass.

“I have faith in our corners. We’ve been getting pretty good corner play this year,” Bryant said. “I feel like the corners are going to let the front seven eat, and they worry about the pass, and if they do that, we’ll be alright.”

Wommack also spoke about the running backs LSU would use, keying in on former five-star recruit and current freshman Leonard Fournette.

“He’s as advertised, great player. I can’t remember the last time LSU didn’t have a great running back in the backfield. They always have one or two,” Wommack said. “This year they have three guys who are great players. Anybody would like to have all three of them.”

Bryant was excited to match up against the Tigers’ running backs and the run-heavy offense.

“I love hitting fullbacks and hitting running backs and that type of thing, and I feel like this is that type of game,” Bryant said. “We just have to use our speed, athleticism and power to make plays.”

Wommack said he saw a lot of improvement by the defense over the year.

“I like the way that they’ve come together in unity, and you put that together with some experience, they’ve got pride in what they do,” Wommack said.

He also highlighted sophomore Robert Nkemdiche’s play and how he’s improved.

“I think (coach Chris) Kiffin has done a really good job with him teaching him how to play the game of football and play the techniques we want him to play,” Wommack said. “Occasionally, he’ll still spin out of some things, but he’s pretty good at what he does and so explosive and athletic.”

Wommack said one of the big reasons for the overall improvement in the team is maturity.

“Coach Freeze’s policy is that if you miss a class, you miss a quarter, and we haven’t had a single player, offense, defense or kicking game player that’s missed a single quarter,” Wommack said.

Cody Thomason