Lockett lost for the year

Ole Miss was dealt a major blow Saturday, as defensive end Kentrell Lockett suffered an ACL injury, sidelining the team captain for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Lockett, attempting to defend a screen pass, was injured in the first quarter of Saturday's 55-38 win over Fresno State. A redshirt senior, Lockett fits the criteria for a medical hardship waiver, should he choose to apply following the season.

"He's heartbroken. I am, too," Nutt said. "It just makes you sick to lose a leader like that and a play-maker, an experienced guy. It really hurts. It's just part of it, but it's sad."

It's been a difficult year for Lockett, who entered the game ranked 12th on the team in total tackles with six.

Kentrell Lockett goes down with a knee injury

He missed the team's season-opener against Jacksonville State due to an irregular heartbeat, and was limited against Tulane, despite earning his first start.

"I talked to him very briefly," defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said. "I told him I was disappointed for him, heartbroken, because I know how hard he's worked to put himself in this position. Whatever I can do to help him, I'll be there for him."

Gerald Rivers replaced Lockett against Fresno State, and is likely to remain with the first team moving forward.

"He's a great player," Rivers said. "When he goes on the field, he commands attention, he talks. He keeps everybody going. That's something that's going to be missed. But he's going to be on the sideline keeping everybody going, doing the same thing. Everybody has to step up and play."

D.T. Shackelford, a linebacker by trade, could also make a switch, if only for the time being, to defensive end. Shackelford has seen a considerable amount of time at the position so far this season, including Saturday.

"You can't replace Kentrell Lockett," Shackelford said. "He's just a top-class guy. He's a leader around here. I think my leadership role will step up. I have to be more of a leader, so I will be. Like I've said, whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do it. If it's end, if it's linebacker, it's me being more vocal as a leader. Anything they want me to do, I'll do it. We just want to win."

Nix said the loss of Lockett will open the door of opportunity to younger players.

True freshman Delvin Jones drew the first action of his career in Lockett's absence. Fellow freshman Carlos Thompson, who played against Tulane and Vanderbilt, missed the game with a groin injury. However, he'll likely see his role expand, as well.

"It takes out a play-maker, a guy that's started for three years that's been a consistent player," Nix said of losing Lockett. "He's played well. That's the key to it. He's played well. What it does now is provide another opportunity for Delvin Jones to continue to get more reps, Gerald Rivers to step up and Carlos Thompson may even get more reps.

"What it's going to require is youth within our defense to step up and become more of a factor."


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