OXFORD • Ole Miss is preparing to be without a starting linebacker for the bulk of the season.
Rebels coach Matt Luke said Monday that junior inside linebacker Mohamed Sanogo, who suffered a broken ankle on a special teams play less than a minute into the Arkansas game, will have surgery today.
“He’ll be out roughly 10 weeks,” Luke said.
A junior from Plano, Texas, Sanogo was the most experienced returning linebacker and led the Rebels with 112 tackles in 2018. He had four tackles in the season opener against Memphis.
As Ole Miss has shifted to a 3-4 scheme, it has also created depth among the inside linebackers corps.
Sophomore Jacquez Jones took on a much bigger role after Sanogo was carted off the field and finished as the Rebels’ leading tackler in the game with nine including 1½ tackles for loss.
Veteran Willie Hibbler had 50 tackles last year, and junior college transfer Lakia Henry adapted quickly enough to earn a starting role for the first two games.
Coaches were also pleased with the August camp turned in by junior Donta Evans, who appeared in seven games last year.
This week’s depth chart reads that either Evans, who had three tackles against Arkansas, or Jones will start Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana in place of Sanogo.
Defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre said there are no plans to move another player to the inside linebacker group.
“We’re going to keep it just like it is. (Freshman) Ashanti Cistrunk will get more reps, and we’ll keep going from there.”
A three-star recruit from Louisville, Cistrunk has appeared in the first two games on special teams.
MacIntyre credited inside linebackers coach Jeff Koonz, who was hired shortly before spring drills, for getting reserves ready.
“MoMo is a big loss to us. We feel like Jacquez won’t completely replace MoMo, but we definitely think he’s good enough to be an excellent inside backer for us.”