Tough Unit

Several Rebel defenders will suit up for the last time in their college careers when Ole Miss takes on Mississippi State Saturday. The Bulldog offense presents several challenges, according to Reb DC Tyrone Nix. Read about it inside.

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix, back in his playing days at Southern Mississippi, was widely known for his physical, tough style of play.

Tyrone knows "tough" when he sees it.

He recognizes that, and more, out of Mississippi State's offense that his Ole Miss unit will be squaring off with Saturday night in the annual Egg Bowl.

"The main thing that sticks out is that they are a tough unit. They have a physical offensive line, physical backs and they have a physical quarterback," Nix assessed.

"When they take the field, they have a tough, physical presence that is apparent."

The Rebels had a hard time last year against the Bulldogs in the second half of the Egg Bowl when MSU changed gears and went with an option and counter attack the Rebels didn't have an answer for.

Coach Houston Nutt called the switch "an effective curveball we were not ready for."

Nix doesn't feel the MSU attack is hard to figure out from a schematic standpoint, but it will require assignment football on the part of his defense.

"It's not about their scheme. It's all about 11 guys playing their responsibilities on a consistent basis, executing and bringing the intensity to match theirs," Nix noted. "Our task this week is being ready for the challenge of how physical they play and being prepared for what they like to do.

"We'll find out who is prepared this Saturday."

Many are of the opinion that stopping State's ground game is all that is required to stop their offense.

Tyrone Nix

Nix is not of that ilk.

"We will have to honor every aspect of the game, the run and the pass," Nix explained. "We are not good enough to load the box every play and think we can cover one-on-one all day. Scheme-wise and talent-wise, we will have to mix it up and give them different looks. MSU completed 66 percent of their passes against Arkansas and scored 31 points. They threw 30 times and completed 20. To go into the game thinking they can't throw wouldn't be a wise thing to do.

"The biggest thing is having 11 guys on the same page, knowing their responsibilities and bringing the intensity."

Nix will be coaching several seniors for the last time - DT Ted Laurent, LBs Allen Walker and Jonathan Cornell, Safeties Johnny Brown and Fon Ingram, CB Jeremy McGee and possibly DT Jerrell Powe.

"We have not had a consistent year this year. It's been a frustrating season - every loss is frustrating to me, but I appreciate the effort these guys have given us, not only this year but during their careers," he stated. "While this year has not been what any of us had hoped for or anticipated, these kids have contributed a lot to this program and they still have a chance to go out on a winning note."

In order to go out with a good taste in their mouths, however, the Rebs, according to Nix, will have to bring the hat. All day.

"State is going to line up and come right at us. It's what they do. We'll have to match their toughness and how physical they are," he closed.


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