After the Ole Miss defense was run off the field by Leonard Fournette in a 38-21 loss Saturday, and thus continued its trend of poor play, The Clarion-Ledger’s Hugh Kellenberger asked head coach Hugh Freeze, “How much confidence do you have in Dave (Wommack, defensive coordinator) to fix this defense?” Here was Freeze’s response:
“It’s been a battle,” Freeze said. “Dave Wommack has been tremendous for me and I owe him a lot. We address staff issues every week, every single week and we'll continue to do that. It’s a combination of things. One guy just does not all of a sudden become bad at what he does when he’s been good at it for a long time. We just got to continue to address the issues and man, keep fighting for the whole season.”
Freeze gave a fairly diplomatic answer, as one would expect, but the number of fans clamoring over Wommack’s poor job performance has risen quite a bit, especially after the defense’s performances the past few weeks. Fournette set an LSU single-game record with 284 rushing yards on just 16 carries in the Tiger victory, then after the game admitted that he still is not at 100 percent and is out of shape. As one does.
Leonard Fournette set the LSU single-game rushing record with his monster performance in his first game back from injury. pic.twitter.com/BiO7CRFBxU— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) October 23, 2016
Defensive end Marquis Haynes was a bright spot in an otherwise dreadful performance. His blind-side sack of LSU quarterback Danny Etling caused a welcome turnover late in the first half as the Tigers led 21-13, which would eventually lead to an Ole Miss touchdown and two point conversion to tie the game just before halftime. As the Clarion-Ledger’s Antonio Morales points out:
It was the second consecutive week Haynes has made a play to change the course of the game. Against Arkansas, Haynes dropped into coverage and picked off Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen.
Haynes certainly changed the course of the LSU game, if only for the 15 or so minutes of halftime. Still, Haynes’ solid play to date has been a much needed bright spot for the Rebel defense this season, as he’s notched five sacks, seven tackles for a loss, an interception, and three forced fumbles. It’s just too bad those around him aren’t playing on the same level right now.