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Ole Miss’ defense is so thin it’s moving RBs to the secondary

C.J. Moore’s season-ending injury means Armani Linton and Tylan Knight are now defensive backs.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Ole Miss’ defense is utterly terrible. The Landsharks are currently giving up 6.2 yards per play, and an astounding 516.8 yards per game. The fewest yards they’ve allowed this year is 390 to Kent State. Read that sentence aloud and just sorta sit with it for a minute.

Starting safety C.J. Moore, who tore his pectoral muscle in Baton Rouge last weekend, is the latest defensive back to be lost for the season. Montrell Custis and Jaylon Jones went down with torn ACLs. Moore and Jones bring the most experience to the bunch, and their absences deplete and depress a depth chart that’s already struggling to merely tread water.

And so Matt Luke’s outfit is enlisting the talents of a pair of running backs—junior Armani Linton and freshman Tylan Knight—to fill in at safety duty for the foreseeable future, as reported by Parrish Alford.

Linton was recruited to Ole Miss as a defensive back and played there until switching to running back this season. He’d carried the ball just six times for 22 yards this season.

Knight has already logged 107 yards of rushing in five games this year, but his high school days will apparently come back to inform his work on the other side of the ball. With little tape to view regarding his work as a back-end defender, it’s nearly impossible to say how this patchwork fix will pan out for Wesley McGriff’s defensive 11 moving forward.

Knight hopefully won’t have to see the field anytime soon, but the razor-thin depth at safety already has Linton running with the second team. From the Clarion-Ledger:

In practice Tuesday, sophomore safety C.J. Miller took Moore’s place with the first team, alongside Zedrick Woods. Linton took snaps with the twos, and Knight tried his hand at the Star position.

Gone are the days of 2014 and 2015, when the Landsharks could legitimately boast to be a Landshark sort of defense.

As ever, #LOLsharks.