Lamar Brumfield -

When Allen Walker went down with a knee injury in early August, Lamar Brumfield seized the opportunity to replace him. Now Walker's back, but Brumfield is still number one. Read about it inside.

Not many have mentioned that in Ole Miss' starting defensive lineup against Memphis last weekend all three linebackers - Jonathan Cornell, Ashlee Palmer and Lamar Brumfield - are from California.

That's really not front page news, but it is an interesting factoid. After all, it's a long way from Cally to Mississippi.

But one reason it slipped by some is that it's kind of unexpected.

Brumfield, you see, wasn't supposed to be in the mix.

For all of spring, through summer and into fall camp, Brumfield was backing up Allen Walker, who manned the number one Sam LB slot.

Brumfield, who did not make much of a splash last year when he came to Ole Miss from Cally via the JUCO route, wasn't talked about much and wasn't ballyhooed at all.

He quietly did his job and waited for any chances he could get.

And while he didn't want to get the job by default via someone's injury, when Walker went down with a knee problem in early August, the softspoken Brumfield was waiting to take advantage in joining his California cohorts in the starting lineup.

Lamar got the nod against Memphis due to his consistency and responded with a nine-tackle performance in a 41-24 Rebel win.

"It felt pretty good. I got my feet wet, but I know I have to get better," said Brumfield. "I was ready for the game. Coach (Tyrone) Nix had me ready. I was excited to play."

Since the game, there's been a common theme among the players of having to get better and not being satisfied.

"When we watched the film, we were all shaking our heads at seeing how much we can improve. We were real close on a lot of plays, but just made a false step here or there and it cost us," said Lamar. "We all believe we can get those things corrected and do a lot better.

"Defense is all about getting yourself off the field and we didn't do that. Memphis converted half their third downs (8-16) and that's not the kind of defense we are going to be," Brum noted. "I was OK with all my assignments and signals from the sidelines, but there were times my execution was not where it needed to be.

"I was comfortable with everything - my assignments, my techniques, recognizing what Memphis was doing, speed of the game, everything - but I missed on a few things I should have gotten. I will get it down and do better next time. We all just need to eliminate the mental mistakes and we'll be fine."

Lamar smiles when the Cally connection at LB is mentioned.

"We get asked that a lot. I knew Ashlee before and I met Jonathan when I got here. We say we are from California, Mississippi. It's nice to be on the field at the same time," Lamar noted. "We have a connection because of where we are from. We want to keep it going."

Even though the three Californians are the starters, for now, Lamar is grateful Nix is working a six-man rotation at LB. Walker, Patrick Trahan and Tony Fein also got quality playing time against Memphis.

"Coach Nix likes to keep everyone fresh and he trusts all of us to do the job when someone gets winded. We know when Allen or Tony or Patrick go in that the defense is in good hands and that's a great feeling," he added.

Coach Houston Nutt was asked in his press conference Monday what had separated Brumfield from Walker.

"Consistency," said Nutt.

That is another common theme with Nix and the way he coaches defense.

"You have to be someone they can trust and the way you gain the coaches' trust is by being consistent. You can't be up one play and down the next," Brumfield explained. "The consistent players will be out there more.

"I take pride in being consistent and the more I play the more consistent I will be."

Lamar Brumfield has flown under the radar since he's been on campus, but that seems to be in the past now. When he got his chance, he won the job and he performed in the opener.

"I just try to do everything the coaches say and see where that takes me," he closed. "I'll play any role to help the team win."

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