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Kentucky Football: DJ Elliot talks loss of Melvin Lewis and challenge of Dak Prescott

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The big story surrounding Kentucky football the last week has been the season-ending injury to nose tackle Melvin Lewis.

However, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot believes that it will still be business as usual for the Wildcats going forward in spite of Lewis’s injury.

"I think that for us our scheme won’t change much. We are going to fill the void with different players."

Eliot said that the loss of Lewis has inspired many of his teammates to step up their own play in his honor, Matt Elam in particular.

"He and Matt are very close friends. Matt is really taking his role seriously. I think he wants to play well, not just for himself but for Melvin."

With Elam moving into the starting nose tackle position, Adrian Middleton and Tymere Dubose are seeing more reps as his backups, but it will be Matt who needs to step up the most with Lewis out.

"Matt’s worked very hard. He’s taken a very serious attitude which is good. He’s come to work every day. He’s paying attention and doing what we ask. I’m excited to see him play and continue to watch him practice for the rest of the week."

It is no secret which Mississippi State player is going to challenge the Wildcats the most this Saturday in Starkville, quarterback Dak Prescott.

"He’s proven himself in the SEC. He has gotten better every year. We’ve seen improvement from this year. He is calm in the pocket and makes good throws, and makes good decisions", said Eliot.

Prescott has also not thrown an interception all season and has improved his passing so much that his rushing attempts have gone down, said Eliot, but that does not mean he is still not lethal with his legs.

"He’s a big back and is hard to bring down. He's still their leading rusher. They don't have as many rush attempts overall. He still is carrying the majority of their plays, you know what I mean? But you're right. They don't have as many rush attempts overall. One reason is, I think he's passing it very well. He is really become an effective passer. He's calm in the pocket, he makes right decisions and he makes good throws."

With the injury to Lewis and the challenge of Prescott looming, one thing is certain, the Cats defense will have to continue its stellar play for the team to pick up their fifth win of the season.