Ole Miss Wednesday Practice Report: Knight Discusses Move to Defense

Ole Miss safety C.J. Miller did not practice on Wedensday and will be a game-time decision heading into the Rebels’ game against Arkansas Saturday night in Little Rock, Matt Luke said.

Miller is C.J. Moore’s backup at free safety and has recently been thrust into a larger role after Moore tore his pectoral muscle in the team’s loss to LSU two weeks ago. Miller rolled his ankle in the win over Louisiana-Monroe and did not return to the game. Expect to see Kam White and possibly converted running backs Tylan Knight or Armani Linton at this slot if Miller is unable to play. 

Myles Hartsfield — who rolled also rolled his ankle against the Warhawks — practice for the second consecutive day and will likely be available to play Saturday night. Hartsfield can also play safety and will likely see time there in addition to corner against the Razorbacks. 

Knight relishing the opportunity on defense:

Tylan Knight’s freshman season has been wilder than he could’ve anticipated in August. Knight was not recruited by a lot of schools due to his 5-foot-7, 170 pound frame and Ole Miss was his only FBS offer besides Louisiana-Lafayette. He played offense and defense at Pearl High School and was a standout player on both sides of the football. Knight played the first four games of this season for the Rebels at running back, before converting to the defensive side of the football out of necessity last week.

“I love it,” Knight said. “It’s like going back to my home. My high school ran the same stuff, just with different calls and checks. Once I learn those, I will be good.”

When approached about moving to defense, Knight wasn’t uneasy but rather excited.

“I came here as a running back,” Knight said. “I started smiling too much when they said they were going to move me back to that side of the ball. I love the defensive side of the ball. To get moved back at an SEC school was a dream come true. 

Why does he enjoy the defensive side so much?

“I get to hit people,” Knight said.

Knight shrugged off the idea that he is bitter about schools passing on him out of high school.

“I believed in myself and had a great support system behind me,” Knight said. “Once you put it on film, there isn’t much people can say about you.”

Rawlings assesses offensive line play through six games:

Sean Rawlings has seen a lot in the five years he’s played at Ole Miss and this season he’s anchored a veteran offensive line group that has become the most efficient pass blocking unit in the SEC, according to Pro Football Focus. 

“That is something we take pride in is protecting Jordan,” Rawlings said. “We are solid all the way across in terms of moving our feet.”

The offense as a whole has struggled in its initial two SEC games against Alabama and LSU. Rawlings says the unit is looking at this upcoming game as a chance to redeem itself  and kickstart the back half of the season.

“The first two games did not go as planned,” Rawlings said. “That is one of the things we are looking forward to about Saturday. We want to bounce back and get the ball rolling.

He thinks the offense’s struggles have been more self-inflicted than anything the defense is doing.

“We can’t beat ourselves,” Rawlings said. “Everyone has to execute. Everyone has to do their job. If we do our jobs, we have the best chance possible. That is one of the things that is kind of hurting us against SEC defenses.”

Kickoff on Saturday is set for 6:30 P.M.