Second on the team in rushing with 270 yards and five touchdowns, Nickson is a weapon out of the backfield for the Commodores. One of the players charged with stopping Nickson is Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks. The junior tackle says that he sees a much different player in Nickson than he remembers from last year.
"Anybody as a person after a whole year should get more mature," Marks says. "You should get better and smarter. We know he has a grasp of the offense and knows it like the back of his hand. He's quicker than he was last year.
"He can also beat you with his arm. If he gets tired he's got a guy that can come in behind him and do the exact same thing. They should have a lot of confidence and their record shows it."
Because of Nickson's ability to run the ball, the Tigers will have to be very careful how they play against him Saturday for the 5 p.m. CDT start on ESPN. Marks says while you have to make sure you stay in your lanes, you can't play tentative against a guy like Nickson.
"The faster you get to him the quicker you slow him down," Marks says. "There is a lot more to see though because a running quarterback may be able to run the quarterback draw. You don't want to run up field on a quarterback draw. If you study your sets and study the film and you know what's going to happen when you expect it to happen then you should be okay."
Auburn travels to Vanderbilt to play in one of the biggest games for the Commdores in the last 50 years. ESPN's College GameDay will be on the campus to see the first battle of Top 25 opponents in Nashville since at least 1958 and possibly earlier. Marks says because of that they are expecting a tough battle on Saturday night and that is every night in the SEC.
"It has a different feel than a Vandy game in the past, but last year the coaches were the same," Marks says. "No matter who we're facing the coaches are always the same. It's always team x. We prepare for everybody the same no matter who we're playing.
"I know the players will feel different because Vandy is not used to being undefeated. The players will be riled up. The team will have a chip on its back more than it usually has. We've got to go in there and execute and do everything we're supposed to do."