OXFORD, Miss. — After practice Tuesday, Ole Miss outside linebacker Luke Knox met with the media and talked about the season thus far–including the Rebels’ new turnover chain.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pound linebacker out of Brentwood, Tennessee, has done a great job in defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre’s 3-4 base defense and says he prefers the scheme.
“In high school, I played the 3-4,” Knox began. “I always actually played the ‘Will,’ the weak side, but now I’m on the strong side. Last year I was playing inside. I just felt a little different, a little off reading the guards and everything. I just wasn’t as used to that. But playing outside, I feel a lot more natural, and I’m really liking it a lot more for sure,” he explained.
Against Memphis, Knox led the defense in tackles for loss with two for a loss of four yards. This past weekend against Arkansas, Knox made a big fumble recovery for the Rebels with 2:33 left on the clock in the third quarter.
“I saw the ball drop on that one and just had to hop on it and get that turnover chain,” said Knox. “I was excited about that for sure. So that was fun.”
Knox in the right place at the right time
Knox explained the reason he has been able to be in position to make some big plays this season.
“Coach Mac (Mike MacIntyre) gets us prepared…all the walk-throughs, we’re doing everything,” Knox stated.
“We all know exactly our responsibilities and everything. But for me, I just really like playing fast. I mean, that’s one of the reasons that I’m in on some of the plays, I think, is I’m just running trying to get in on it.”
Luke Knox on making big plays
After having a really good spring camp, Knox suffered a hamstring injury as the team was heading into fall camp. But he was determined to stay within the rotation despite the injury.
“In spring I knew I’d be able to contribute,” said Knox. “I knew my ability.… I just knew once I went down with a hamstring, I’d have to work my way back up. Obviously, coming off an injury, you’re going to be at the bottom of the depth chart. But I was able to do a good enough job in practice, and I just love being able to contribute.”
Loss of MoMo Sanogo
During the game against Arkansas, starting inside linebacker MoMo Sanogo went down with a broken fibula and a torn ligament in his right leg.
Sanogo led the team in tackles last season with 112; was one of the three players to represent the university during SEC Media Days back in July; and is the de facto leader and voice of the defense.
Knox discussed how the loss of MoMo affects the Rebels’ defense. “MoMo, he’s one of those guys who just knows all of this stuff,” Knox commented.
“He’s able to get people in the right spot, and he’s obviously a great leader. But we’ve got other guys who can fill that role. And so I think guys like Jacquez (Jones), Lakia (Henry), Donta (Evans), I mean, all those guys play. So there’s a lot of depth there for sure.”
Luke Knox on the loss of MoMo
During the offseason, Ole Miss hired Tyrone Nix as the team’s new outside linebacker coach, and Knox is glad the Rebels did.
“I like Coach Nix. I mean, he’s a little crazy sometimes, but he’s definitely a good coach,” Knox said. “He knows what he’s talking about and gets us in the right place at all the right times. I love him. He’s tough, and he’s just a great coach for sure.”
Knox says the older outside linebackers have been very helpful to him. “Chuck (Wiley) does a great job. Q (Qaadir Sheppard), B Will (Brenden Wiliams), Sam (Williams), I mean everyone in that room, we’re all trying to learn our stuff, learn what Coach Nix and Coach Mac want us to do. Everyone does a good job helping out everyone whenever someone messes up,” Knox said.
Against Arkansas, the Rebels introduced a turnover chain — a necklace with a giant shark tooth — for the defense to be able to show off when they recover a turnover on defense. Knox offered a little background on the new talisman and what it means to him.
“So, we learned we learned about it in Tupelo the night before,” Knox reported.
“And that was actually one of the first things I thought when I recovered that ball…It almost slipped out for a second. Once I knew I got it, I was thinking about that turnover chain while running off the field. So I was excited, for sure.”
Luke Knox on the Turnover Chain
It’s not surprising Ole Miss now has its own turnover chain as many other schools have adopted some type of hardware for their players to show off when they tally a turnover on defense.
With the way the Landsharks have been performing so far this season, expect to see a whole lot more of the turnover chain throughout the rest of the season.
(Video credit: Land Teller, The Rebel Walk)