Whatever It Takes

Bryon Bennett has played a lot of football at Ole Miss. Now the defensive lineman is experiencing something new.

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Due mainly to so many injuries on defense, the 6-foot-2, 270-pound junior from Madison Central is working at defensive end. It's not totally foreign to him, but it isn't old hat either.

"It was fun," he said of working out there this week on the practice fields of Ole Miss. "I played a little (defensive end) in high school. It's still a lot to get used to, adjustments and stuff. But it's really exciting."

There's a lot to get excited about when Ole Miss and LSU play. The Tigers come to town highly ranked and still in major contention for a Southeastern Conference Western Division crown. Ole Miss, now 3-3 overall but 1-3 in SEC play, is likely out of that mix.

The Rebels are trying to survive one of the toughest stretches of games anybody in the country has played. Not to diminish an Idaho team coming to Oxford next weekend, but this weekend's encounter with the Tigers will be, temporarily at least, the end of a brutal stretch.

Bennett said nobody is standing around feeling sorry for themselves either. There is an anticipation for the next game, and that happens to be powerful LSU.

"Just next man up," Bennett said of what has to happen for those who are able to play. "Everybody's excited for the game. We want this win. We're just trying to stay fresh, stay healthy and be ready for the game."

Bennett said the Rebels continue to try to remain confident, but they know some of their teammates missing due to injury don't help the cause.

Bryon Bennett
File Photo

"It's hard, but at the same time you do all you can do," he said. "You hustle. You run. You do what the coaches are asking of you. It's definitely hard, but we just have to work and get better for the next team."

Bennett said facing LSU's more conventional, power attack is indeed a change from the past couple of opponents.

"Every week is a challenge. The coaches are on top of it. They keep us ready," he said. "It's definitely tempo, and some teams take their time running downhill with power. We've got to get big, I guess, and get ready to play."

As for his own play at defensive end this week, Bennett said he's adjusting.

"I was offsides a lot today," he said. "I'm used to being inside, closer to the contact. It's kind of back off from me. So I have to watch the ball to make sure I'm not offsides."

Bennett said it's all about adjusting for everyone concerned with so many players out of action and a new opponent coming to town. But they make the best of things and move on, trying to get back into the win column for the first time in a month.

"You kind of notice when you're friend or the guy you're used to playing (next to) is out or hurt," he said. "They should be back pretty soon. They're not out for the season. So we're hoping to see them again.

"And we want to see what these new guys do and these people with an opportunity can do with it now. It's part of being a football player. Next man up and be ready to go."

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