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August 10, 2013

Defense dominates first fall scrimmage

OXFORD, Miss. -- With rain driving down during portions of Saturday's scrimmage, the Ole Miss defense easily outpaced its offensive teammates inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium less than three weeks from the season opener at Vanderbilt.

The offense scored just once during the full-team portion of practice, an eight-yard connection between Barry Brunetti and Nick Parker, and struggled to stay on schedule, no matter the units on the field.

"The thing we believe in with our team is during bad conditions the team that handles it the best, and we should handle it the best, and it should be a positive for us," offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "Today we didn't handle it very well. Good thing it is the first scrimmage, and you fix these things and work on it. Hopefully it's a building block.

"Every aspect (was a concern). I didn't see one thing. Now every time we have a bad scrimmage I watch the film and it wasn't as bad or vice versa and hopefully that's the case, but I didn't see anything I was pleased with today."

Bo Wallace had put together several nice days of practice heading into Saturday and was 6-of-11 for 125 yards and an interception during the scrimmage.

"I think he's getting a lot better," Werner said of Wallace. "I'll see on film how he did today. There were a couple I questioned, but I think he's coming along."

Brunetti was 6-of-15 for 142 yards with an interception and the one touchdown. Devante Kincade was 3-of-4 for 16 yards, and fellow freshmen Ryan Buchanan was 1-of-2 for 10 yards.

Laquon Treadwell had three catches for 53 yards, Quincy Adeboyejo had two catches for 50 yards, and Donte Moncrief caught one pass for a 38-yard gain. Cody Core also caught a couple for 50 yards.

The run game was ineffective all the way around, with I'Tavius Mathers the leading rusher at four carries for 16 yards.

Despite the complete day, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack opened his talk with the media by getting on his group because of a couple long pass completions. It was the only available nitpick after a pretty dominant outing.

"First thing I think about is the big plays, we have to get some things fixed with our eyes and technique out there," Wommack said. "I do love their effort and energy, they have done that everyday we have had camp, came out and practiced hard. Got eight guys out right now, so be good to get those back, but they keep working hard and have great attitudes."

Chief Brown and Cody Prewitt each had an interception, and the defense combined for seven quarterback sacks, one each by Keith Lewis, Billy Busch, Serderius Bryant, Tony Conner, Walker Sturgeon, Fadol Brown and Bryon Bennett.

Depth is quickly being established on the front two lines of the defense, but cornerback remains a concern with Senquez Golson and Charles Sawyer still sidelined by injury.

"I feel good about 20 guys knowing the defense inside and out and knowing we can put them in a game," Wommack said. "That's a lot better than last year, especially linebacker and defensive line. We're just not there in the secondary yet."


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