Kicking it with Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett

October, 30, 2009
10/30/09
1:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Ole Miss junior defensive end Kentrell Lockett is a rare breed.

He’s skilled enough as a football player to go out and get two or three sacks in a game. And then afterward, he has the training as a broadcast journalism major to ask all the tough questions.

If football doesn’t work out for him as a career, he’s already picked out what he wants to do.

“I want Mark May’s job,” Lockett said of the ESPN college football analyst.
 
 Joe Robbins/Getty Images
 Kentrell Lockett leads the Ole Miss defense with 5.5 tackles for loss.


The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Lockett has already earned one degree in broadcast journalism and is now working on a second degree in theater.

He loves to talk, almost as much as he loves sacking quarterbacks.

Lockett, who leads the Rebels with 5.5 tackles for loss and is tied with Patrick Trahan for the team lead in sacks with 4, took some time earlier this week to chat about a wide array of things.

How’s your knee that you hurt last week against Arkansas?

Kentrell Lockett: The knee’s fine and has gotten better every day this week. It’s just getting used to this brace now.

Are you definitely a go Saturday against Auburn?

KL: Most definitely. I can’t sit on the sideline and watch my boys play.

How important was it for you guys to win a game like that last week over Arkansas if you’re going to get on a roll like last year?

KL: It was important just to get the overall morale and attitude of the team back to where it needed to be. We’d never really had a complete victory until last Saturday. It just shows that we can do it, and with everybody clicking on all cylinders, I think everybody sees what kind of team we can be.

Was there ever any heat between the offense and defense, especially with the defense playing so well and the offense struggling through the first part of the season?

KL: No, because we knew they were going to come along eventually. They just had a slow start, but we were always behind them 100 percent and had confidence in them and knew what they were capable of. It was just a matter of everyone getting on the same page. And when everyone got on the same page, you saw the results.

What level do you think this defense is playing at right now?

KL: We’re at a high level, but we can always go higher. We set standards for ourselves week in and week out, and they’re high standards. We take pride in not letting people get in our end zone and getting off the field on third down.

What’s been the secret of your defensive line play?

KL: Getting in a quarterback’s face and corrupting him. That’s what we do. That’s what we did last weekend. We really made [Ryan Mallett] uncomfortable, and quarterbacks don’t play well when they’re uncomfortable.

Did you have a feel that Dexter McCluster was going to break out like he did last Saturday?

KL: It was coming. When you’ve been around a guy for so long and know what he can do, you see that bottled-up energy and can tell something’s getting ready to happen.

Do you have a similar feeling now as you did last season when you guys started out on your six-game winning streak?

KL: It’s kind of like déjà vu all over again. You can feel it around the team. Everyone’s getting confident and buying into what the coaches are saying. All we have to do is go out and play our game, and we can be just as good or even better than last year.

How concerned were you about the team after the Alabama loss?

KL: I was concerned, but the coaches kept telling us and I kept saying that this season wasn’t over. We had a lot of ball left to play. Anything can happen. The big dogs can go down any week. We weren’t going to keep our heads down just because we lost a couple of games.

Do you have a different perspective of the media since you aspire to go into sports broadcasting at some point?

KL: You sort of know what to say and how to answer those certain questions when maybe somebody is badgering you to get certain things out of you. But then I look at it as a reporter, too. I think about what questions I would ask and how I could get down to the nitty gritty of what’s going on.

So you really want Mark May’s job, huh?

KL: That’s exactly the kind of job I want, but I want to add the controversy that Charles Barkley brings. Tell him he better look out for a young, rising guy from Ole Miss.

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