Steady As He Goes

Ole Miss Defensive Line Coach Chris Kiffin smiles a little when he talks about Defensive End Cameron Whigham, but you realize he's as serious as a 12-car pileup on I-55 with his words.

"He's been solid. I'm always trying to create competition and replace Whig, but he keeps outperforming everybody. You are always looking for better players – always, but I can't replace him right now," Kiffin said. "He keeps doing things right and I know in the back of my mind he is going to do the right things and be in the right spot at the right times. He's held the spot and keeps performing."

The bottom line for Whigham, according to his position coach, to get to the next level is about as elementary as it gets.

"He's got to make more plays to jump to the next level," Kiffin noted with an economy of words.

Whigham knows this is what is separating him from gaining more attention throughout the conference.

"I have been solid, but I feel I can do much better. I know I can make more plays and get more pressure on the QB," Whigham noted. "I have worked on being more physical. This is a physical league and to have success, you have to be very physical. I am more physical now than I have ever been, but I have room to improve."

Cameron shook his head when discussing Texas A&M Quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"Man, I have never played against someone as slippery as him," said Whigham. "He is the most elusive player I have ever played against, by far. He's quick, fast, fearless and he makes things happen. He never got down or rattled. We forced a bunch of turnovers and it did not seem to faze him."

Whigham was proud of the turnovers and tackles for loss the Rebels were able to get in the A&M game.

"We got enough turnovers to win, and we hit them behind the line a lot, but the big plays they made at the end killed us. We just have to keep going for those turnovers and start limiting some of the big plays," he explained. "Against a guy like him, you know there are going to be big plays, but you have to cut them down to where you can manage them."

Cameron Whigham
Chuck Rounsaville

Cameron believes we could see more of that turnover barrage in upcoming games.

"Turnovers can be infectious. Our coaches stress them all the time – stripping the ball, picking it off, whatever – but sometimes it's hard to get them. When you do, though, it can start a feeding frenzy of turnovers. We hope that is what the A&M game will produce for us – a feeding frenzy that lasts the rest of the year," he explained. "From my standpoint, the guys up front have to keep getting more and more pressure. Against A&M, we had a mixed gameplan. At times, we would try to pressure him. At times, we would try to contain him. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't."

Whigham has a lot of faith the Rebel defense will continue to improve little by little.

"We are getting there," he said firmly. "We have gotten a little better each week. We have stayed hungry and we believe in the plans our coaches are giving us each week. These coaches put you in a position to produce and to win. It's up to us to execute and get the job done. I think we will do that more and more as the year progresses."

There is no head-hanging, according to Cameron, after a loss.

"We have something to prove. We are underrated and we want to show people we can be pretty good," said Whigham. "We are going to keep fighting and keep preparing until we prove that we are a good defensive unit. You have my guarantee we will keep playing hard, and once we eliminate more and more mistakes each week, we will start producing better results.

"Sometimes people do not take into consideration that we are still in year one of learning a totally new system. Everything is not exactly second nature to us yet, but it will be and we will start playing faster and faster once that happens."

Mostly, it's about effort though.

"Our coaches preach to us every day about the importance of trying hard in everything we do – in the classroom, in our personal lives and on the field. We are seeing the results and seeing if we do that we will be successful in life and in football. It's coming," he added.

The next hump to get over is to win.

"It's all about mistakes right now. We are still making too many, but we are eliminating more and more each week. We have to keep moving in that direction," he closed. "We are close and getting closer each week, but we still made too many mistakes against A&M.

"Like I said, we are still learning the ins and outs of this defense, but more and more stuff is clicking. That in itself will help us cut back our mistakes. We can't wait for that to happen and for us to be more of a well-oiled machine."

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