Ole Miss senior Cornerback Dustin Mouzon did not envision his final collegiate campaign going the way it has.
After being one of the starting corners for over a year, Mouzon has been on a rollercoaster ride this season, starting a couple of games, then being replaced by converted wide receiver Marshay Green and now back in the CB picture again.
"Since I am used to being a starter, and this is my last year, this season has been very frustrating," said Mouzon, one of the team leaders despite his playing status. "As competitive as I am, and as much as I want to be on the field, it's been tough."
Having said that, Mouzon knows the score and is not upset at anyone for his "demotion."
"Our coaches know what they are doing. They brought Marshay over from offense in the spring for a reason - to create competition, best man wins," Dustin stated maturely and calmly. "I had a hard adjustment to the new coaches' methods and got beat out.
"It's not easy playing cornerback. I think it's the hardest position on the field. You have to be almost perfect and you have to have a short memory. When you have a bad play, the only thing you can think about is going back out there and redeeming yourself."
Mouzon admits he may have gotten a little depressed when he was placed on the second team, but he didn't let his teammates see it.
"I learned how to be a coach and motivator for the young guys while I was on the sidelines," he said. "I was down, but I learned to be more of a team player. I was always a team player, but when I got benched, I concentrated more on what I could do in the position I was in to help the team.
"I wanted to do all I could do on special teams and help Marshay and the others do their best. It wasn't about me, it was about the team."
Dustin was fighting the natural urge to let his guard down when Marshay won the starting job, but those feelings, at times he admits, got the best of him.
"I didn't get down at first, but when it came down to the point where I wasn't playing much at all, I started blaming myself for certain things and not going as hard as I should have," he explained.
But a week or so ago, he snapped himself out of his doldrums and found the "old" Mouzon in time for the final four games of the regular season.
"I'm still encouraging the other guys and telling them how the games have to be played and how hard the other team is going to come at us, but I'm leading more by example than by words now," Dustin noted.
Mouzon wants to be a bigger part of what is at stake for the team now.
If the Rebs can get a win over Auburn, they will be over .500, 3-3 in the SEC and in strong position to get to their first bowl game since 2003.
"We have a chance to start something different from what we've ever known here and to set future teams up with an attitude of winning," Dustin said. "That is very important to this senior class. We don't want to leave here with a bad legacy. We want to go out winners.
"This is our chance to earn something we can be proud of, for once. I want to be in the middle of it and help get it done."
There is no definitive word of how much Mouzon will play at corner, maybe a little, maybe a lot, depending on how the game goes and what kind of job Green and Cassius Vaughn do.
But whatever he gets, he's going to cherish it and make the most of his opportunity, not for himself, but for the team.
Dustin Mouzon -
OM Spirit Top Stories
Freeze Frames: ‘We’ve got to fight’Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Monday afternoon for his weekly press conference.
OM Spirit9:48 AM
No. 1 Rated DT Updates Latest in RecruitmentScout caught up with five-star DT Marvin Wilson to get the latest news surrounding his recruitment and what he is looking for when he does pick his college.
Scout FootballYesterday at 1:10 PM
No. 6 OLB Willie Gay Decommits from Ole MisScout 100 linebacker Willie Gay has backed off his pledge to the Ole Miss Rebels. Gay committed to Ole Miss back in June, but he is now back on the market...
Scout Football5:48 AM