Nix's (Rebel) Swan Song

The lack of consistency and intensity, according to Rebel Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix, has been the biggest thorn in the side of the Ole Miss defense. He's expecting "better" this Saturday in the Egg Bowl.

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix came into the media room after practice knowing this would be the last time he would meet with the local media after a workout, which has been a weekly ritual during game weeks since his arrival at Ole Miss.

Despite the 2-9 record and the poor defensive stats from this season, he was upbeat and ready to talk about Saturday's Egg Bowl bash with Mississippi State.

"They may play three quarterbacks, but the reality is they run the same offense with all three of them. Certainly, they feature some different things with each of them, but the overall offensive package does not change," he said. "The bottom line is that we have to play our responsibilities and play with intensity."

Tyrone said he's seen flashes of the Rebels being a good defense all year, but the flashes were not often enough.

"It's all been about the lack of consistency and the lack of relentless effort," Nix continued. "You have to do those things to be a good defense. It just has not come together for us for those reasons. Hopefully it will this Saturday. If there is one game the kids should be excited about, it's this one.

"This year has not gone anywhere near where we have wanted it to, but we are counting on the kids to play their hearts out and give it all they have against Mississippi State."

The Rebels have not been good against the run. MSU has a tough back in Vick Ballard. He, and their other backs, have to be looking forward to the opportunity to churn up some yardage.

"They run hard and Ballard has good balance. He's an attacking back - physical. They are a strong running football team," Nix added. "It will boil down to who wants it most Saturday."

Even though Tyrone will not be a part of the future of Ole Miss football, he believes the Rebs have a chance to have a good defense in the years to come.

"I think Ole Miss is a year away from being a really good defense. We are pretty young, but we are talented. Another offseason, some more experience and some maturing and this group will be just fine," he noted.

Tyrone Nix
File Photo

Nix said he's going to spend some time reflecting and evaluating after the season.

"I'm going to spend some time with my family and evalute myself to see what I can do to get better as a coach, be a better dad and be a better person," he closed.

Wednesday's practice was closed to the media, but Coach Houston Nutt was available after the two-hour workout in the stadium.

Sophomore Quarterback Barry Brunetti, it was said after the LSU game, needed, and would get, all the practice reps this week preparing for the Egg Bowl.

"Barry has improved and he's gaining confidence. He's getting us in the right plays and managing the offense," said Nutt. "We've done a lot of good on good this week, so he's getting the speed of the game thrown at him and that has helped him.

"He's throwing the ball better and we all know he can run. It's all good so far."

Tuesday's practice was a little out of synch, but Nutt said the Rebels regained their focus Wednesday.

"This has been a difficult situation, especially for our younger guys. A lot of the guys were tuned in fine yesterday - they are trying to finish hard," said Nutt, "but some of our younger guys lost their concentration. Today was much better.

"Guys like Kentrell Lockett, Brandon Bolden, Mike Marry, Bradley Sowell and some more have been exceptional this week. The others fell in behind them today."

From an injury standpoint, it appears Spur Aaron Garbutt (hand) will not be able to play against MSU. Senior Damien Jackson will take his place.

"He can't go, but I think (LG) Aaron Morris will be able to play some after missing the LSU game with a hand injury. (Spur) Keith Lewis practiced today after getting a stinger in the LSU game," Nutt assessed. "Philander Moore should be able to play after an abdomen injury against LSU. (WR) Tobias Singleton - who was suspended for academic reasons against LSU - is back and will play Saturday."

Patrick Junen will start in Morris' place at left guard as he did against LSU.

The rest of this week's practices are closed and there will be no media availability the rest of the week.

Happy Thanksgiving!

OM Spirit Top Stories