OXFORD – Speaking at his first “game week” press conference of the season, Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said he wasn’t quite sure how much he will get out of senior defensive end Kentrell Lockett on Saturday.
The Rebels open the season at home at 3:45 p.m., against BYU in an ESPN game. Lockett is coming back from a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament. At times during practice this month the knee has barked at him and required attention.
“I know we’ll get a pretty good amount of plays, I just don’t know how many,” Nutt said.
Lockett says he’s fit and ready to play the entire game.
Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix has always rotated his defensive linemen. That’s something that Lockett says will help him be ready for as much work as necessary against the Cougars.
The knee, he says, hasn’t really bothered him until the latter stages of a given practice. At times he could feel it begin to stiffen.
“The game is totally different from practice,” he said. “In a game there’s a role. You’re going to play a certain number of plays, and somebody else is coming in. I feel good. I can do the whole game.”
Lockett was a key part of the Rebels’ success in 2009 with 10 tackles for loss, 13 quarterback pressures and five sacks.
He tore his ACL in the fourth game last season and had already missed the season opener with an irregular heartbeat.
He’s confident that the rotation will help keep his knee fresh and that there will be no drop-off in production at either end position at any time.
Senior Wayne Dorsey is penciled in as the starter at the end opposite Lockett.
“There’s no slip off when Gerald Rivers, or Carlos Thompson or Cameron Whigham, when any one of those guys are in the game. They’re the same caliber of player as the guy who was in before them. No matter who’s in, we can bring the same amount of pressure, create the same heat,” Lockett said.
Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal