No Worries

The Ole Miss running backs have somewhat "flown under the radar" during August practices, but RB Coach Derrick Nix says all is well.

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Maybe it's because we already know what they can do.

Maybe it's because other areas of the team are a bigger concern.

Maybe it's because we take them for granted.

Whatever the reason is, the Ole Miss running backs don't seem to be getting much media attention during August and that's just fine with Running Backs Coach Derrick Nix.

"I've got a veteran group," said Nix. "Consequently, they just come to work every day and take care of their business. They know what I want from them, they are doing the same things they have done for years and they understand what it takes to get the job done on this level.

Brandon Bolden
Chuck Rounsaville

"Don't get me wrong - we're not perfect and we have to put in the same amount of time and effort we always have, but I can count on these guys coming out here every day giving me great effort without too much fanfare."

It's "nice" for a coach to have the same players year after year. Nix is blessed that way.

"When you look at it closely, this is my fourth year with Brandon (Bolden), Enrique (Davis), Devin (Thomas) and H.R. (Greer)," Nix said. "We are so used to each other, we know every move the other is going to make.

"Like I said, they know what I expect and I know what they can give. It's a real good situation."

While the offensive line was trying to figure out who would be the fifth starter, a new tight end was being broken in, freshmen wide receivers were making a splash while adjusting to college ball and the quarterbacks were playing musical chairs with the starting position - all subjects writers want to sink their collective teeth into, the running backs were settled and cruising along.

"As long as we aren't getting much attention, I know things are going well," Nix said.

And "going well" it has.

"We're never satisfied, we believe in working every day to get better, but at the same time, we're comfortable with each other," Nix explained. "It's a good give and take.

"What I try to relay to them, and they accept it, is that we don't have any excuses for not being perfect. We should have the least amount of mental mistakes of any unit out here because we've been doing the same things with the same people for years. They've been solid in accepting that responsibility. They've been leaders."

Nix has some specific things he wanted to see from some of his players and they have responded well toward those goals as well.

"Enrique needed to improve his pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield and he's done those things," noted Nix. "Devin has always been solid, but he needed to get a little quicker, which he has done.

"Brandon needed to come out every day with the attitude that he is the alpha dog out here and he's done that. Jeff (Scott) needed to shore up the mental part of the game since he's only been here one year and I have seen him do that. He understands the concepts of what we are doing now."

About the only "drama" Nix's group has had this fall camp was early injuries to Greer and his backup, E.J. Epperson, at fullback.

Greer injured his ankle early on and E.J., the same day, suffered a concussion.

H.R. Greer
File Photo

"H.R. came out of the chute full go and was really looking good, then he injured his ankle. He's come back and been real solid all camp," Nix added. "H.R., since the end of last year and through spring training, has really become a bell cow for us.

"E.J. started out real hot, but then got his bell rung. He's come back from that now and, like H.R., has given tremendous effort. Fullback is an effort position and they have given me a lot of that. They both understand our concepts and are making minimal mistakes."

The bottom line is that Nix likes where his group is as the season approaches.

"We're healthy, we're in good shape, we know what to do and we've done it before," he closed. "I'd say it's all systems go right now."

While Nix's troops have not gotten a lot of ink in the fall camp, the headlines will start coming soon enough.

In games, where it really counts.

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