He engineered success with a couple of good quarterbacks at the University of Mississippi, but as of this weekend, Dan Werner will don a different hat when the Rebels face Alabama.
Prior to the Crimson Tide hiring him as an offensive analyst over the summer, Werner endured two stints at Ole Miss – including one under former head coach Hugh Freeze (2012-16).
Media pundits of college football started taking Werner’s prowess into consideration after what he was able to accomplish with the likes of Bo Wallace and Chad Kelly running the huddle.
While Wallace twice accounted for 3,000 yards passing in 2013 and 2014, Kelly guided the Rebels to school records in points (531), touchdowns (68), total offense (6,731), passing yards (4,351), passing touchdowns (35) and 50-plus point games (four) during its 10-3 season in 2015.
Werner was a finalist for the Broyles Award that year – nation’s top assistant coach – but as an off-field analyst at Alabama, the veteran mind operates in a different way. According to head coach Nick Saban, the former offensive coordinator has brought an ‘NFL flavor’ to Tuscaloosa.
“Dan is a really good coach,” Saban said in today’s presser.
“He’s been very helpful in doing self-scout on the things we do on offense. He’s also been making contributions every week to compliment some of the things that we do.”
Brian Daboll and Michael Locksley hold offices as offensive minds; however, Werner’s attention to details from upstairs has assisted the Tide to 41.3 points (first in SEC), 303.3 rushing yards (first in SEC, fifth in NCAA) 102 first downs (first in SEC), and an 89.5 percent rate in the red zone (second in SEC). He also guided the combination of Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa to a 154.12 passing efficiency rating, which is third in the SEC behind Georgia and Ole Miss.
“I think he’s been very beneficial to us in terms of some of the passing game, but also to do some of the things that Jalen is pretty good at from the spread standpoint,” Saban said on Werner.
After helping Ole Miss to a pair of victories over Alabama in the last three years, it will be interesting to see what Werner draws up for the weekend to disrupt the Rebels’ defense.
ESPN will air the matchup at 8:00 p.m.