BLOG — Ole Miss’ rash of injuries, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, have the Rebels doing some shuffling this week in practice.
The Rebels are down three defensive ends in starters C.J. Johnson (ankle) and Robert Nkemdiche (hamstring) as well as reserve Carlos Thompson (stinger), all of whom will miss Saturday’s game against LSU (6 p.m., ESPN2). As a result, defensive tackle Bryon Bennett has moved to end for the time being to give Ole Miss some bodies there.
Head coach Hugh Freeze didn’t want to divulge too much information after Tuesday’s practice but did say Bennett, who took some reps at end on Tuesday and also played the position some in high school, will be one of the lineman the defense will go with against the Tigers.
“We ain’t got but so many,” Freeze said. “We’re going to play four down linemen. I really don’t know who they’re playing exactly where right now, but Bennett will be one of the four.”
Bennett said coaches told him he might be needed at end on Sunday. By Monday night, he was with the ends during a meeting with defensive line coach Chris Kiffin.
“It’s fun. It’s definitely different,” Bennett said. “I only played in high school and then I came in as a tackle. It’s exciting.”
Freeze also updated the statuses of linebacker Serderius Bryant (concussion), defensive back Chief Brown (unspecified), cornerback Mike Hilton (hamstring), backup quarterback Barry Brunetti (throwing shoulder) and running back Jeff Scott (thigh bruise). Bryant continues to go through the concussion protocol with team doctors, but Freeze said the junior “isn’t ready yet.” Hilton and Scott didn’t practice, and it’s looking more and more doubtful that either one plays Saturday. The prognosis for Brunetti and Brown was more positive as Freeze said both are “going to give it a go.”
Freeze talks all the injuries, managing practice with a depleted roster, the challenges of preparing for LSU’s power offense and more in the video below.
(October 15, 2013)