Every coach is concerned with assignments, being in the right place, execution and doing the right things, but in Saturday's first scrimmage of spring training at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix wanted to see first things first – intensity and abandon.
He got it, Nix said, after the 100-plus play workout.
"I saw a lot of effort and intensity. I saw bodies flying around and guys trying to play with reckless abandon," Nix assessed. "We looked a little faster and it seemed like we were on the same page in a lot of areas. I saw great effort, which is what I was looking for in this first outing."
Nix was able to dial up some pressure on the quarterbacks in the live scrimmage. His troops roughed up the Rebel signal-callers often.
"We feel like getting some pressure can be a strength of ours. We did it sometimes with tighter coverage and we did it at times with our front just cutting it loose, but we were able to get pressure quite a bit," he noted. "Wayne Dorsey gave us some pressure on the edge – he's stepping it up a little bit it looks like. He's improving and is determined to have a good senior year. D.T. Shackelford and Joel Kight also put pressure on as did some of our interior people at times."
Nix got what he expected from his veteran linebacker duo of Shackelford and Kight.
"I always expect a lot of D.T. and he usually delivers. Joel stepped up his game today. I saw them make plays in the run game, in the coverage game and in applying pressure," he continued. "I also thought Mike Marry was very consistent in the middle.
"Clarence Jackson is having an outstanding camp so far and it pushing Joel. That may be one reason Joel has stepped his game up. Ralph Williams has also shown a lot of improvement. I am very happy with him. After last season, I was concerned about Ralph, but he has worked hard and has shown passion, intensity and focus when he hits the field. I have been very happy with Ralph."
Nix was also pleased, for the first time out with live bullets, with his secondary.
"We looked better. You saw us play last year," he smiled. "We did some good things today. We are better there. I liked the improvement Frank Crawford showed when he came in for Damien Jackson, who dinged up his shoulder. He made a big-time tackle, which is an area he needed to improve, and had an interception.
"I also felt Charles Sawyer and Wesley Pendleton did some good things at corner."
While Nix was a long way from declaring the Rebel defense a finished product, he had very few qualms with the first scrimmage.
"We just have to keep getting after it and stay aggressive. We have to play together and do the little things right," he closed. "We have 10 more practices this spring and I expect us to keep getting better and keep working hard on the little things. It's coming, based on the first scrimmage."
Nix Liked Effort
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