Ole Miss Cornerback Coach Chris Vaughn doesn't have time for frustration or moaning about what's in the past when he's coaching his group.
He knew coming into the 2008 season that there would be peaks and valleys with his guys.
Vaughn's approach is simple.
"As long as my guys will play their guts out and compete, which they have done, and as long as they will show steady improvements, I can't ask much more," he said. "They have done that, without question."
Vaughn admits there was a level of frustration at the end of the Arkansas game, where his guys were in position to make game-ending plays but didn't.
"It's a good thing I don't have hair, or I would have lost all of it," he laughed. "But when you are in the secondary, you can have a great game until the end, let them make a few plays and leave not feeling real good. Up until the end, we played real good, but then it got away from us.
"We won, but there was that feeling in our stomachs that we didn't finish it the way we should have. When you are on that island out there, two or three minutes can erase everything you did the previous 57 minutes of the game. We have to finish - there's no other way to say it."
Vaughn, Houston Nutt and the defensive coaches huddled after the Arkansas game and decided to see if an "old" veteran could inject something positive into the situation. Senior Dustin Mouzon will be given an opportunity to put some juice into the secondary by being in the CB rotation for the first time in a few weeks after starting the first couple of games.
"It's been tough on him to be demoted, but the only reason he's gotten another chance is because of the attitude he's had and the work ethic he has shown," Chris stated. "It creates competition and a sense of urgency back there and we need that. Competition is healthy, plus he gives us a set of fresh legs.
"It's getting late in the season and Marshay and Cassius have been playing 60-70 snaps. We need to give them some rest. If you are going to chase cheetahs, you better have some fresh legs and we believe Dustin can provide that and quality snaps. I think all of them can work together. When we call on Dustin, we need him to go make plays just like we need Marshay and Cassius to."
Chris said there's no favoritism going on or any sub-plots.
"I'm partial to guys who make plays. The guys who make plays are the guys who will be on the field," he stated. "I think Marcus Temple could be one of those, but as a freshman we wanted him to specialize this year at nickel back so we wouldn't put too much on him and confuse him.
"We don't want to overload him, but he's handled what we've thrown at him. I am very proud of Marcus."
Chris said the perception by some fans that the corners are a "weak link" to the defense does not faze him.
"My evaluation is that we have to do better when the ball is in the air. We've done some good things in coverage, but we need to finish games and plays," he assessed. "As the cornerbacks coach, I want them to see from me that I'm not dwelling on the past. This staff does not lament past performances. We compete and improve from the start of the season to the end.
"I'm excited about the next play and the next game. We believe in them. I can't wait. The ball is going to go up Saturday and I can't wait to see how my guys are going to respond. We are going to work out butts off to get ready and we are going to compete. There are no secrets. Our opponents watch film and they are going to try us. I can't wait for that to happen. All we have to do is keep covering like we are, but finish the play by making a play at the point of attack. Let's go make a play. It's that simple."
Chris Vaughn -
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