October 30, 2007

Rebels discover more depth on defense

As the Rebels march towards their ultimate goals, they're bound to lose some players.

Injuries, suspensions and under-performance have stricken the Rebels along the way, and before Ole Miss traveled to Auburn, two of the Rebel defenders had to step up.

"We are a program here that if a young man is hurt or suspended than somebody has to step up." Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron said. "And that was a great example of somebody stepping up."

With Greg Hardy suspended indefinitely, senior defensive end Viciente DeLoach got his number called, and he made the most of it.

Making his first start of the season, DeLoach had six tackles - his first tackles since the Rebels' season opener at Memphis.

"It's been hard waiting because I know I've been ready," DeLoach said. "I've gotten bigger, stronger and faster than I've ever been. I've just been waiting on an opportunity to show what I can do."

And he got his chance - in an extreme way. After playing in just one game in Ole Miss' past five, DeLoach said he missed less than ten snaps on Saturday.

"Jumping in there, playing all those reps, I'm still sore," he said.

Though DeLoach got his time because of Hardy's suspension, he doesn't care.

"If you're a starter and you do some things and lose it, I just have to step in," DeLoach said. "It doesn't matter how; I've got to go in a and play either way. It was an opportunity for me to get a lot of reps, and it doesn't matter how I get them.

"I'm just glad to take them."

DeLoach wasn't alone. Wednesday before the Auburn game, freshman defensive tackle Lawon Scott heard he was on the move.

"We didn't have that many nose tackles that day," Scott said. "For some reason, someone was sick or something. They were trying me at nose, and I did really well.

"From that day on, they kept me at nose."

Scott showed the Rebel coaches enough to earn plenty of time at the tackle position next to Peria Jerry. Scott responded with four tackles and 2.5 tackles for lost yardage.

Scott said he expected to get some reps as a freshman - but not the extended service he gave at Auburn.

"It happened so fast. I just got moved recently to nose (tackle)," Scott said. "That's what I played in high school. I had to learn the technique of playing nose in college, and I did a pretty good job this week."

Scott was a late addition to the Rebels' last recruiting class, Orgeron said.

"He was a late bloomer," Orgeron said. "We saw his quickness. But you know we always like to find a diamond in the rough, and we really like his quickness and his flexibility."

Scott isn't the first Rebel to make the most out of an opportunity. With Jamarca Sanford dinged up, freshman Johnny Brown's asserted himself as one of the Rebels' surest tacklers.

Special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach Chris Rippon said Brown has some unique skills for a young player.

"Johnny is an excellent athlete that really does an excellent job of using his hands, something a young player normally doesn't do," Rippon said. "He has the ability to get the kid on the ground.

"We're certainly happy with his development."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!