Mission accomplished. Ole Miss 27, LSU 24.
“We really just had to tell the younger guys ‘Look, y’all have to step up. You have to focus. You have to have a great week of practice. You need to practice like you’re going to play.’ We pushed the young guys all week, and Saturday we made sure they stayed focused the whole game,” he said.
Prewitt also mentioned he believes in the younger players and what they can accomplish. And actually what they are already helping this team accomplish, now 4-3 heading into Homecoming against Idaho.
“We just made sure they played each play the best that they could,” he said “They have plenty of talent. All of them are going to be great players. You just need someone there to push you, to keep you focused, to keep your mind on now. That’s what we had to do.”
There is no substitute for veteran leadership. And veteran leaders need to believe in the younger players. Prewitt said actually seeing so many of the less experienced players performing well was a lift for all.
“I’m not going to say I wasn’t confident,” he said of his feelings heading into the LSU game. “But personally, I was a little worried about how our younger guys were going to handle it emotionally. I knew physically they could take it. I wanted to know how they would handle it emotionally and mentally. They handled it really well, so my confidence in them is up, and their confidence is up as well.”
Prewitt leads the Southeastern Conference this season in interceptions with four. A couple, perhaps more, drops or mishandles and he might have as many as seven or eight. He said it’s all about making something happen when the opportunity arises.
“I have tried to focus on that. I feel like I should have had more. At the same time, Coach (Dave) Wommack does a great job of setting up game plans and putting players in the right places and in position to make plays. The rest of it is on us. We’ve just got to make them.”
He had one interception against LSU, halting a scoring opportunity for the Tigers in the second quarter with Ole Miss up 10-0 by picking off Zack Mettenberger in the end zone.
“I was playing free there. I know who his favorite receivers are,” Prewitt said. “I know what they like to do. I did read him a little.”
Wommack said Prewitt has had a good year that can be even better as the season moves on.
“At times I think Cody could have played better. I think he’s solid and so smart. He doesn’t make a whole lot of mistakes,” Wommack said. “I keep thinking about three interceptions he dropped at Texas, or he’d have seven or eight now. I guess that’s a coach’s perspective.”
Prewitt said he’s worked to get better at all aspects of his play. But he also said there’s no substitute for game experience.
“I guess you can say some of it is a little bit of instinct, a little bit of intuition,” he said. “The more comfortable you get on the field, you get a feeling where the ball’s going to be, where the play’s going to go, stuff like that. The tendencies of the offense, where you need to be to make plays. So I guess it’s a little bit intuitive, but at the same time it’s a just a lot of practice and knowing what they’re doing.”
Prewitt said there should be no letdown this week against the Vandals. He said the Rebels have learned from the past and know what’s ahead.
“We’ve had a past of letting teams that we’re supposed to win against, we’ve let them hang around a little bit,” he said. “This week instead of just trying to keep us healthy, we’re trying to really push the throttle on the season. We need to turn it up a little bit. I think that’s how we’re attacking this gameplan. We’re treating them like an SEC team, like a Top Ten team. That’s what we should do. ”
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said Prewitt is good for this team and the football program.
“Solid,” Freeze said. “He’s a leader of our defense, in the back end of it especially. He knows what we’re supposed to do, and he’s executed it very well. He’s probably graded out above 70 every game. He’s had a solid year, and he’s the type player you want from all aspects. He represents our program very well.”
“I’m proud of him,” Wommack said. “He’s a hard worker. Loves the game. He’s a competitor and he’s tough. So I’m excited about Cody Prewitt.”