They've had a chance to get to know Dorsey, too. The 6-foot-6, 262-pounder from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College by way of Baltimore, Md., played in nine games last season for the Rebels, starting four of them. His numbers weren't impressive, and it was a learning year for Dorsey. He had 12 total tackles, including 10 solos. He also had four tackles for loss and a quarterback sack.
But more was expected then, and even more is expected now. That's especially true for a defense looking for leaders and veterans to step up and make their presence known.
"We're already seeing more of the guy we expected to see a year ago," Nix added concerning Dorsey. "Maybe this is his time."
Maybe it is. Dorsey said he believes he's a better player now than last spring or last fall during the Rebels' 4-8 campaign.
"I don't really think it's been an adjustment as much as it's been that I feel like maybe it's all on me. It's my senior year, and we've got all these young guys inside. Without (Kentrell) Lockett out here (this spring), it's pretty much on me, being a senior. I put it on my shoulders. I guess everybody else does as well."
Nix said Dorsey has done what it takes to get better for 2011.
"The biggest thing is he had to get his strength right," Nix said. "He's had to get consistent. He's had to continue to do the little things. And he's improved at that. He's improved a lot."
Dorsey said he believes he has gotten his strength "right" as Nix calls it.
"Another year in the weight room didn't hurt," he said. "Just like another summer (in 2011) won't. I dedicated myself to the weight room, and everything's feeling good to me."
As Nix pointed out, Dorsey, familiar with quarterback Randall Mackey from their junior college days, has been running after the Rebel signal-caller in practice, especially so on Saturday. Mackey starred at East Mississippi Community College. Dorsey said it's good to be on the same sideline with Mackey at Ole Miss.
"I get tired of seeing Mack," he said, smiling with a bit of sarcasm but also truth in his words. "I've seen him for four years now. He's probably one of the most elusive quarterbacks I've ever played against. I'm excited that he's on our team and we're not facing him."
He was facing Mackey on Saturday, and No. 7 was often in the backfield. On the day, Dorsey had six total tackles and several pressures on the quarterback.
Nix believes there's a chance those numbers will be similar come football season this fall.
"Wayne is determined to make sure his senior year is nothing like the year in the past," Nix said. "He wants to make a mark here at Ole Miss."
So far it appears Wayne Dorsey is headed toward doing just that.