Cam Newton?

In defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix's weekly meeting with the media, only two words were necessary to get him going. Cam Newton, the Auburn quarterback who has turned the Tigers into the number one team in the nation, for now. Read about it inside.

A group of regular media members sauntered up to Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix after Tuesday's practice.

Usually, there's a barrage of questions that Nix obligingly fields.

It was much different this week, Auburn week.

Two words got him going and it wasn't even in the form of a question.

Cam Newton.

Tyrone Nix

"He's a heckuva player. He has to be the front runner for the Heisman right now," Nix smiled broadly out of respect and the knowledge of the task ahead for the Rebel defense. "Right now, Cam is the best. In a short period of time, eight starts, he's undefeated and has broken the single-season rushing record for quarterbacks - already. And in one game, they didn't even let him run it that much.

"Cam is a ballplayer and he's fun to watch. He's kind of like Darren McFadden - only bigger and he can throw the ball. He has that type of running ability and is around 250-260 pounds. He has actually beaten more people running the ball than he has throwing, but he can do both very, very well."

Nix has an obvious answer for Newton's prowess, which is easier said than done.

"We have to tackle him, get him on the ground, and everyone has struggled to do that this year," he said. "That is our biggest challenge - tackling, and we missed a couple against Arkansas, so we have to shore that up.

"This guy touches the ball every snap. I'm hoping he will be handing it off or throwing it to get it out of his hands, but that is not the way it's played out the last few games."

Tyrone is challenging his players to mix it up and get it done.

"It takes courage and technique to finish runners off. We are challenging our guys all week to make it happen," Nix said. "It doesn't look like he takes many hits, he is so elusive, but when he is hemmed up, he tries to punish would-be tacklers. He tries to run over linebackers and has won his fair share. It's going to be a lot of fun watching us trying to tackle him."

Nix said he's never been matched up against a QB that big and that fast.

If Newton weren't enough to worry with, the Tigers are not a one-man team.

"Everything goes through him and revolves around him, but they have other really good players," Nix said. "With his ability to run, it opens up the passing game and he draws so much attention that other players can break free if you ignore them.

"He's a weapon on every play because he makes everyone around him better."

The Rebels will have to be on their toes, for sure, not only because of their talent level, led by Newton, but because of their schemes.

"They mix things up well and try to confuse you," he said. "We will have to be very sharp in everything we do."

Cam Newton.

Two words that evoke a lot of conversation and obviously a deep respect from the Rebel D boss.


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