Nix-ing Excuses

The Rebels will be heading into Nashville Saturday with the possibility of playing without two of their more physical defensive players - MLB Mike Marry and Spur Brishen Mathews. DC Tyrone Nix won't let that be an excuse.

Follow SpiritJeff on Twitter

Once you get to know Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix, there are at least two things you learn are imbedded in his brain.

One, he understands and accepts that injuries are a part of football. They are inevitable.

Two, he does not allow injuries to be viewed by his staff or his players as setbacks or to be used as an excuse for a lack of performance. Instead, he focuses on injuries being golden opportunities for the player next in line to get a chance to shine.

"There is not a thing you can do about injuries, so why moan about them?" said Nix. "The next game is coming Saturday whether we are injured or not. When a player is injured, it simply creates an opportunity for the backup to step up and produce."

With that in mind, Nix's defense is facing the distinct possibility of going into Saturday's battle against Vanderbilt without two of his more physical players - Middle Linebacker Mike Marry, who has not practiced this week due to a strained arch/plantar fasciitis, and backup Spur Brishen Mathews, who is having lower back issues.

Ralph Williams
Chuck Rounsaville

"If Mike can't go, I am looking forward to seeing Ralph Williams out there. He was a little banged up with an ankle issue in August camp, but he's almost 100% now," noted NIx. "I am also anxious to see what the freshman, Keith Lewis, can do. He's done well in practice and he will get a shot. I really look forward to seeing them play more."

Williams has been backing up both Marry and OLB Joel Kight in the first two games, so now the job of backing Joel will go to another true freshman, Serderius Bryant.

"Serderius has made plays on special teams and has had flashes at linebacker in practice. We are going to cut him loose in the ballgame and see what he can do," Nix stated emphatically.

Aaron Garbutt has been manning the Spur effectively, but Mathews has added some valuable relief. Now, who takes his place if he cannot go?

"We moved Vincent Moss to Spur. He played some OLB in the spring behind Clarence Jackson. He's also played safety and corner. He's a guy with outstanding speed and he's shown playmaking ability," said Nix. "I will not bat an eye to put him in the game. I will be real comfortable with him out there."

Tyrone was not bashful in describing Vanderbilt's offense and what he intends to do against the Commodores.

"I expect them to be multiple and show us a lot of formations," said Nix. "They are going to be an up-tempo offense. They have some explosive players and some experienced players. They have a senior quarterback (Larry Smith) who has played a lot of football, has made a lot of plays in his career and is playing the best he's ever played.

"They only have two turnovers on the year and have made some big plays so far."

His plan? Simple.

"We are going to come after them. We are going to pressure them from the start of the game until the end of the game," he stated. "We are going to see what happens."

OM Spirit Top Stories