Mouzon wants to wrapup UM career a winner

Dustin Mouzon has been around these parts for a while. As a matter of fact, in five seasons as an Ole Miss Rebel, he's under his third head coach.

That's not the stability anybody wants, not players, not fans, not anybody associated with Ole Miss football. But Mouzon sees much better days ahead for this program, and he believes those days are actually going on now.

"You get excited. It's almost here," he says of game one vs. the Memphis Tigers Saturday night in Oxford. "You get excited for our fans, and you want to see what these new coaches bring to the team in a game, and see what we can do as a defense and as an offense."

Yes, it's clear. Mouzon has been looking ahead to the season while trying to maintain that "in the moment" mentality most seniors and leaders have in their fourth or fifth year of college football.

"Just trying to take it day by day," said the 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback from Orlando. "But you do get excited about that first game after practicing for so long."

Those practices of August have been positive, according to Mouzon. He said the atmosphere, like the spring, has been conducive to getting the job done and, more importantly, winning games.

"Camp has been even better compared to the spring," he said, mentioning the Rebels learned a lot about their new coaches back then and also what was expected of them in the new program. "Lot more focus. Lot more understanding. Just trying to get better so we can win games."

Mouzon's always had that type attitude. He's always been one of the spokesmen for his team. It's more of the same this time around as he pushes to help his last Ole Miss season become a success.

"I just try to be a lead guy and to be a leader for this group and this team," he said. "I believe we can be good this season. I feel this secondary is coming along. The young guys have to learn quickly. But they will. And us older guys have to step up and lead and give it our best. For some of us, this is it."

Mouzon allowed himself to look back over his career and reflect. He has quite a volume of work to recall, from his true freshman season when he redshirted to the present. Not a winning season yet, and that's rare at Ole Miss. Not since the late 1970s and into the '80s when the Rebels posted seven straight on-the-field losing seasons from 1976 through 1982 has there been such a dismal run.

Two 5-6 seasons (1976, 1977) were changed to 6-5 when Mississippi State had to forfeit its victories over Ole Miss and other teams due to NCAA rules violations. So officially Ole Miss had five straight losing seasons during that stretch, ending with an Independence Bowl season in 1983 in Coach Billy Brewer's first season. Mouzon and his teammates want to change the course of the program by doing something just as noteworthy. He says everything surrounding the program points to a winner this time.

"It's more of that same relaxed feeling like when Coach Cut was here," he said. "It's more positive. The coaches are more relaxed. Everything's not hectic. Lot of tutorial stuff, lot of learning. More teaching the game. It makes the atmosphere a lot less stressful and makes us want to be around here more. It helps to learn the game more with an atmosphere like that."

Mouzon wants to win this year to set a tone for the future of the Rebel program now and into the future.

"It's big for us to do that. It's been a drag the past few seasons. Not just for the team but for everybody here in the community, the students; everybody at Ole Miss and in Oxford is ready for a turnaround. These seniors, we've been here a long time. We're looking for a big season."

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