Landshark defense swarms Tigers’ offense Saturday

Posted on Nov 2 2015 - 9:27am by Cody Thomason

(Ole Miss defense takes down Auburn player |Logan Kirkland)

The Rebel defense has been without one of its integral players for most of the past two games while star defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche recovered from a concussion suffered against Memphis.
Nkemdiche returned for the Auburn game and made his presence known with four tackles, a pass deflection and a quarterback hurry, in which he drove the offensive lineman into the quarterback to pressure the throw.
“It’s a big win for us. It’s a good SEC win,” Nkemdiche said. “It started in practice, and it started with our intensity and our energy we had all week. It was just all preparation and staying together throughout the course of the game. I’m happy we came out with the W.”
Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said Nkemdiche returning made game planning hard for opposing offenses.
“Some of the gap schemes that people run against us, it’s hard to get the center back blocking on him to pull the guard and it makes all the difference,” Wommack said.
After some struggles against Memphis and Florida, the Rebels’ defense has turned it around the last two weeks, holding Texas A&M to just three points and holding Auburn to 19.
The Rebels’ secondary have had their share of struggles since Tony Conner tore his meniscus, but on Saturday they were able to keep Auburn under 50 percent in pass completion percentage, a feat they accomplished for the second week in a row.
“I feel like the secondary and the defensive line, we were in sync,” Nkemdiche said. “We had a couple of busted coverages where they got deep on us. But for the most part we were playing together, and we were on the same page.”
One of the big defensive improvements was on third down, where Nkemdiche said the defensive line, linebackers and secondary stepped up to make plays.
“Sometimes people get their eyes mixed up, and sometimes they get some bombs. But I feel like we’re cohesive again,” Nkemdiche said. “Everybody has come together again. It got all discombobulated for a little bit, but I feel like we’re back on the same page. We feel good.”
With a schedule that’s already poised to be tough with two top 25 opponents, Nkemdiche stressed the importance of looking at the upcoming games and the team not getting ahead of itself.
“We keep everybody focused on just this moment,” Nkemdiche said. “Don’t worry about the future. Don’t worry about this last game. We don’t ever want to look ahead because everybody is SEC, anything goes. So we just keep each other grounded, and we keep each other in this moment because this moment is beautiful.”