Undersized defensive tackles usually take a pounding from much larger offensive linemen, especially from those found in the SEC. Ole Miss’ Isaac Gross is listed at 250 pounds. Unfortunately, Gross has been banged up during fall camp, but he appears to be ready to play Thursday against the Boise State Broncos.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze spoke with the media Monday. Freeze said he was “confident and hopeful” Gross will play in the game despite missing most of fall camp due to a neck strain. Freeze reported Gross didn’t have any soreness in his neck to start the week.
With Gross out of the lineup, the Rebels have dabbled with their starting defensive tackles. Junior Woodrow Hamilton and senior Bryon Bennett will likely open the season as the team’s starting duo.
Gross, however, adds a completely different dynamic to the Rebels’ defensive line. Gross provides quickness and an interior pass rush. He can be completely disruptive at points in the game due to his ability to successfully penetrate opposing offensive lines. Gross only has 6.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss during the pass two seasons, but those statistics don’t give a true indication of the effect the smallish defensive tackle can make on the game.
With Gross in the lineup, the Rebels will pass rush will be far more formidable alongside Robert Nkemdiche and C.J. Johnson.
(Hat Tip: The Clarion-Ledger)