'Hanging In There'

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix has kept a positive attitude and his nose to the wheel, despite what's happened on his side of the ball thus far this season. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix doesn't want to talk about who is gone off last year's team.

He doesn't want to talk about the untimely injuries to this year's defensive squad either.

After all, what good would any of that do?

As is common to say these days, it is what it is.

And what the Ole Miss defense is right now is struggling to make it happen. 'It' being a defensive performance up to his standards, devoid of explosion plays and numerous missed tackles.

Tyrone Nix

"I'm hanging in there," said Nix to the media, forcing a smile. "Only the strong survive."

Once again, as has been the theme this year on the Rebel defense, Nix and his defensive staff are left shuffling personnel around due to injuries.

This week, he's going to battle without DE Gerald Rivers (ankle) and possibly senior MLB Jonathan Cornell.

"That's (injuries) are just a part of this game. It's a tremendous challenge. Football tests everything about you," he explained. "If you are in this game long enough, you are going to face adversity.

"What we have to do is continue to show the character and the courage to continue to compete. We have to start this Saturday in the right direction."

Despite sitting at the bottom of the SEC in scoring defense, giving up 34 points a game, Nix's optimism shines through.

"Our guys have the right attitude. We are going to attack this thing the right way and I believe we are going to see an improved defense, a defense that's going to help carry us throughout the rest of the season and be an impact for this team," Nix stated emphatically.

Tyrone says that Cornell is his starting MLB for this week until someone tells him Jonathan can't go. Cornell had not practiced through Wednesday, but Nix is hopeful. If not. . . .

"Without Jonathan, we would be real thin at linebacker. Most likely we'll go with Mike Marry as the starting MLB," said Nix. "D.T. Shackelford will have to be a Sam (OLB) and a Mike (MLB), and will probably play a lot of defensive end to try to bolster our pass rush off the edge. We want to see what D.T. can do at DE in our base packages. He's been playing end mostly in our nickel and dime packages, but we think he can handle it in base as well.

D.T. Shackelford

"We may also have to use Rudy Wilson some to give us some depth at linebacker. We've been working him in there this week some on the outside."

While the defense is not going to have Rivers available and may not have Cornell on board, they did get Safety Damien Jackson, who missed the Auburn game with a bruised knee, back in the mix.

"He's a major addition to our unit. Before his injury, he was improving every week and had made some big strides," Ty stated. "We are hoping he will come back where he left off, at the same level he was playing at prior to the injury."

The fact of the matter is Nix understands where the Rebel defense is right now.

"We have not met our expectations at all," he said. "We've had a hard time getting a true feeling of where we are due to all the changes we have had to make in our lineup week-in and week-out.

"The bottom line is that we need to play better and be more consistent. We have to play with better fundamentals and we have to tackle better, no matter who is in the lineup."

Louisiana will come to Oxford trying to spread things out on offense. Their backup QB, Brad McGuire, filling in for injured starter Chris Masson, threw for 384 yards last week in a close loss to Ohio.

"We thought McGuire was a runner, but then he airs it out for 384 last week, so we'll see a little bit of everything," Nix closed. "They run a spread and we'll have to be sharp against it."

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