HOOVER, Ala. — A new season and potentially new era of Ole Miss football is upon us.
SEC Media Days is the unofficial start to football season and Ole Miss was well represented by head coach Matt Luke as well as Matt Corral, Alex Givens and MoMo Sanogo as the Rebels kicked off the season and addressed the media.
MoMo Sanogo, a junior linebacker, addressed the media about this upcoming season.
The Ole Miss defense hasn’t performed as well over the last few seasons, but with many returning veterans in the defense, the Rebels are looking to turn some heads this year and turn this past weakness into a strength.
Sanogo was a bright light in the weak defense in the last year, tallying 112 total tackles as he popped up all over the field in 2018. He’ll have a chance to lead a group of experienced defenders in 2019.
“Everybody is in the right spots and right places,” Sanogo said. “We have a lot of veterans on the defense and if you look at the roster, it’s a lot of juniors and seniors and a lot of guys who played in those defenses but are really good and are ready to prove people wrong.”
Sanogo has been most impressed with Jacquez Jones and his tremendous improvements this offseason. Jones is a sophomore and is one of the younger players on this defense. Sanogo said Jones, in particular, has made huge strides this offseason, but everyone on the defense will look a lot different.
The whole culture of Ole Miss football has been very different this offseason. Sanogo spoke about how the mindset of the players and the culture has been special going into this season.
“Our work ethic this summer has been exceptional, especially compared to the past two summers I’ve been here,” Sanogo said. “Everybody has a different mindset whether that has to do with being tired of the current state or the bowl ban being lifted and having that little extra thing to play for. There has definitely been a culture change more towards hard work.”
Mike MacIntyre has a lot to do with that culture change. The addition of MacIntyre on defense has brought in a wealth of knowledge and has created a more cohesive unit on defense. The culture, especially in the linebacker core, they have been trying to build is based on working hard, putting everyone before yourself and being a team player. The Rebels are turning to a 3-4 system this year and are hoping these changes in the system under MacIntyre will spark more success.
As Luke addressed in his time with the media, the goal of this season is to make it back to the postseason. No one on this team has been to a bowl game as a Rebel. Sanogo addressed that issue saying that just isn’t acceptable.
“I can’t sit right with not going to a bowl game,” Sanogo said. “I want to be one of those top-25 teams in the country. What you want doesn’t get you anywhere it’s what you do to get what you want and we’re trying to put in that hard work to be where we want to be and where we see ourselves.”