Expect changes for Rebs
By By Joey Vaughn / special to The Star
Oct. 1, 2002
OXFORD When Ole Miss hits the field to face No. 6 Florida Saturday, you could see some changes on the Rebel defense.
Ole Miss used much of its off week to shake things up on that side of the ball following back-to-back lackluster performances. After the Rebels gave up 42 points to Texas Tech and 35 to Vanderbilt, David Cutcliffe made sure to make it clear to his defensive players that their jobs were in jeopardy.
Cutcliffe wouldn't reveal exactly who might be earning a job, but it's clear that the secondary was the focus, particularly smallish cornerbacks Desmon Johnson and Chris Knight, who have been abused by bigger receivers at times this year.
Travis Johnson, a redshirt freshman corner, seems primed to make a move for more playing time. He was in the game for much of the second half against Vanderbilt, and broke up a long pass in the closing minutes that would have given Vanderbilt the tying touchdown had it been completed.
The Rebels also had to fill some holes at linebacker after senior captain Lanier Goethie broke his foot. The return of Eddie Strong, who practiced Monday for the first time since reinjuring a sprained ankle against Texas Tech, is expected to help, but Cutcliffe isn't sure how much Strong will play Saturday.
and some consistent play."
The Rebels spent much of their practice time over the off week concentrating on the physical mistakes that helped Vanderbilt to roll up 257 rushing yards.