Mouzon looking to stop big play

Dustin Mouzon is admittedly the elder statesman in the Ole Miss secondary, but the redshirt junior is also in his first year learning John Thompson's defense – one that emphasizes turnovers and stopping the big play.

Technique and staying on receivers have been the two biggest things repeated at Mouzon throughout camp. Thompson has put a primary focus on eliminating the big play from opposing offenses. It doesn't mean play conservative, but instead, it is about knowing the appropriate assignment and executing.

"The main thing is to keep outside leverage," Mouzon said. "Coaches always talk about keeping leverage and helping out the safeties in the cover two. Making open field tackles and of course keeping my feet so as to not get beat by the deep ball."

Turnovers are also being stressed as the Rebel defense has set a goal to strive for 38 takeaways this season. Reaching that number would be improving last year's number by 25 and statistically put Ole Miss near the top of the country.

Playing sound, smart defense is the No. 1 thing for Mouzon.

"You always want to make plays on the ball, but the majority of the time you can't focus on the quarterback. We have to stay on our men. I need patience, hands and make sure to stay over the top. The main factor is the deep ball because we can't give that up."

Given that line of thought, turnovers produced by the secondary may not come in the way of interceptions.

"In practice they are constantly telling us to look for the strip attempt," Mouzon added. "In my mind, it is about not getting beat and always making the tackle. More strip attempts will help us with turnovers."

Thompson's schemes don't use many blitzes from the cornerbacks, but rather properly timed ones.

"We are mostly playing coverage," said Mouzon. "When they call a blitz, it is a big chance for us. We can get in there and make something happen with a tackle."

Instead of charging the backfield and looking for a stop, Mouzon will spend a majority of his time on an island while others pressure the quarterback. The one-on-one coverage puts the corner in the spotlight with no room for error, but Mouzon is ready for the challenge.

"What the big guys asks, I got to do. It doesn't matter how I feel. But it is tough because the receivers are getting bigger, faster and stronger. I have no problem with one-on-one coverage. If that is what he wants, then that is what I will play."

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