Kendrick Lewis -

The Ole Miss defense was in unfamiliar territory against Auburn - giving up big plays they had not been susceptible to all season. Senior FS Kendrick Lewis expects that to be corrected quickly. Read his thoughts inside.

The Ole Miss defense struggled against the Auburn offense, an offense that had been sputtering for a few weeks, and uncharacteristically the Reb stoppers gave up several big plays along the way.

Senior Free Safety Kendrick Lewis, one of the main leaders of that unit, does not believe that will be a sign of things to come.

"We'll get it fixed. It's real simple what we have to do," Kendrick said. "You move on. You go back to work. You accept the challenge of correcting what we did wrong and you get it fixed. You can't do anything about what is in the past except learn from it.

"I've been here a long time and I've learned through good times and bad times that you can't dwell on the past or you will repeat the same mistakes over and over. You clear your mind and move on. We have taken that loss really hard. It hurt us all. I am still hurting, but we have to look forward. I have to work on my craft and get better and do everything I can to help my team get better."

The biggest issue the Rebs had against the Tigers, he said, was putting their eyes in the wrong place.

"We were playing a lot of man coverage against those guys and we had to bump over and switch sometimes with their motion," he explained. "At times, we weren't getting our eyes on our work. We had times when we weren't aware of who was on who. There was some confusion going on out there.

"It was surprising because we've been very good with our assignments all year and they did nothing our coaches did not prepare us for, but we had some key lapses that cost us."

The confusion slowed them down and took away, at times, one of their biggest assets - playing fast.

"Obviously, when there is confusion, even a little bit, it causes hesitation and hesitation affects how fast you play," Lewis continued. "You have to play fast in this league and we have played fast all year until that game.

"It took us a while to get going downhill and by then they had scored more points than we are used to giving up."

This week, the Rebs take on Northern Arizona and QB Michael Herrick, who transferred there from Ole Miss.

Lewis knows Herrick well. Kendrick was still a wide receiver when Herrick was on the Ole Miss squad and was on the receiving end of a lot of Herrick passes during that time.

"Michael is a nice quarterback," said Lewis. "He has a pretty strong arm. He's a good quarterback, smart. We'll have to be sharp against him and that spread offense."

NAU is expected to throw the ball all over the lot, which may be just what the doctor ordered for the secondary, according to Lewis.

"We'll be looking for some redemption, for sure," he said. "We had some breakdowns against Auburn that we need to atone for and we need to get back to playing the way we were before that game.

"Against a team that throws as much as they do, we will have to step up our game and be sharp in the secondary. We need the challenge."

The whole body of work for the Ole Miss defense has been very good for the most part, but Lewis said he's a bit disappointed they haven't created more turnovers this year.

"Creating turnovers is always a point of emphasis with our coaches. They drill us about it all the time - get a three-and-out or a turnover," he said. "We need to start making more happen, but if we keep working hard and trusting in each other, those will come.

"We've got to make it happen. We have to force more turnovers. As effective we have been in some areas, we have not done a great job forcing turnovers and that's something we have to get better out in this stretch run."

A good starting point could be picking off the former Rebel Herrick.

"He's smart with the football, but we need some stepping stones to getting that right," Lewis closed. "We will be trying to spoil his return visit, for sure."

But first things first.

Lewis and the rest of the Rebel defense have one goal in mind.

Quickly return to the form they showed prior to the Auburn game.

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