Nick’s Notes: Nick Broeker, Cedric Johnson and Tylan Knight look ahead to Tulane game
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss (2-0) continues to prepare for its upcoming opponent, the Tulane Green Wave. After Tuesday’s practice, offensive lineman Nick Broeker, defensive lineman Cedric Johnson, and defensive back Tylan Knight met with the media to talk about their season this far and their next opponent.
Nick Broeker talks O-line and offense
Rebels’ left tackle Nick Broeker landed on several accolade lists this preseason, including being named to the Outland Trophy Award Watch List for the nation’s top offensive lineman.
In Tuesday’s press conference, Broeker was asked what he and the rest of the offensive line have to do to improve.
“I think the biggest thing is still communication. Also finishing blocks up front, those are the two main things. Just training to finish and making sure we are all on the same page with every call.“
Nick Broeker on areas the O-line can improve
Broeker was asked if penalties, which a have been a problem for the team as a whole, affect him psychologically while playing. “A little bit,” he said. “It kind of sticks in your head, but I think proper practice will help us get rid of things like that.”
This season some of the Rebels’ offensive linemen have switched back to their primary positions after having moved last season to fill areas of need. Most notably, Ben Brown has moved back to guard and Jeremy James has gone back to his more natural position at tackle.
Broeker commented on what the moves mean to the line. “It’s gone really smooth, especially having spring to do it as well. Jeremy is definitely a more natural tackle and Ben definitely prefers guard. I think it was really good for us just overall as well.”
It comes as no surprise that the Ole Miss offense has been putting up a lot of yards this season, averaging 599.5 yards per game — which ranks fourth nationally.
Broeker was asked where he thinks the offense, as a whole, stands now. “I think we’ve done some good things,” he explained. “I think we definitely have a lot to clean up, especially penalties. I think that’s kind of the main thing we’ve really stressed.”
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) September 14, 2021
Tulane an SEC-level team
Head coach Lane Kiffin has stressed to the team that Tulane is just as good as any SEC team they will play this year, and Broeker agrees the Rebels will face a tough opponent.
I’d assume these are the plays that fuel the Oklahoma doubters. Tulane kept fighting. More to follow. pic.twitter.com/SWCm58WgmR
— Dalton (@DaltonEastNE) September 7, 2021
“This will be a really good game for sure,” Broeker said. “Especially after watching the tape of them playing Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a really good team, and they took them down to the last snap. They’ve got a lot really good depth as well,” he added.
Ole Miss defense locked in
The Ole Miss defense has allowed an average of 24.0 points per game in their last three games (including the Outback Bowl). That is considerably down from last season’s average of 38.3 points allowed per game.
Although it is a small sample size, it is still a good indicator of the progress they have made. This season so far, the pass rush from the defense has been a big key in the improvement.
Cedric Johnson talks pass rush
Tuesday after practice, Cedric Johnson was asked how he and his teammates have found a way to improve on the pass rush.
“I think me, and Sam (Williams) are both really fast. Coach Joyner has been a big part in it, teaching us new things to do, new techniques, new ways to set things up that make us better pass rushers. That’s not just me and Sam, it’s the whole D-line.”
Cedric Johnson on the improved pass rush
Johnson was also asked what he thinks of Tulane and what kind of challenges they will be present. “They’re a solid team for sure. Their O-line is pretty good also. They are a tough challenge, but I think we are up for it.”
Tylan Knight having fun
Defensive back Tylan Knight also spoke to the media Tuesday. Let’s get one thing straight, regardless of his size (Knight is listed at five-foot-seven inches tall and 175 pounds), he plays much, much bigger than that.
Knight plays every single play with extreme passion and effort — week in and week out.
He was asked if he is feeling comfortable on defense after playing offense in previous years, and then moving again to defense last season. “Yeah honestly, I do,” Knight said.
“I did my fair share of moving around. I finally feel like I’m at home of the defensive side of the ball. I am most definitely having fun. You know, fun comes with winning and we’re doing that.”
Tylan on moving around on defense: "If they need me to go somewhere, I can plug and play. I have no problem with it."
— The Rebel Walk (@TheRebelWalk) September 14, 2021
Ole Miss and Tulane kick off at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway. The game is scheduled to be televised on ESPN2. For Rebel fans, the color to wear is RED.
(Feature images credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss; Graphic: Nick Filipich, The Rebel Walk)
Nick Filipich was born and raised in Biloxi, MS. He is an Ole Miss alum with a degree in Sports and Recreation Administration. A sports junkie with a great passion for all things Ole Miss, Nick played baseball and football in high school — which is where he discovered his love for sports. He is an avid Braves and Saints fan, and in his free time enjoys spending time with family, friends and his black lab, Dixie.