Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator did not let his "starters" play a down in yesterday's Meet The Rebels Day scrimmage, by design.
"We wanted to see who would give us the effort and step up and run the defense when our leaders were not on the field," said Nix. "I saw some good things, but overall it was not good eough.
"We did cause some turnovers, and that was good, probably the best part of the practice."
Nix did mention one player - sophomore Defensive Tackle Lawon Scott - as a player who caught his eye.
"Lawon Scott did good. He went out there and made some plays. I think he's going to be ready to help us this year," Tyrone noted. "He's backing up Marcus Tillman inside and I think he's going to provide us with some quality depth."
That's a bonus for the defense because until recently Scott has not been turning a lot of heads. After entering the offsason overweight, he worked hard to shed the pounds required by Houston Nutt, but he had a slow start to fall camp. Sounds like he's picking up the pace now. He's a needed commodity with Ted Laurent still missing from action and DT Justin Sanders recently injured.
All the coaches are getting to the point where they are going to have to start thinking about the redshirt/play decision. On defense, freshmen like DT Justin Smith and DE Gerald Rivers come to mind.
"Justin is going to play for us this year. I think he's going to be an All-Conference type player in time and we are going to give him an opportunity," Nix continued. "Right now, he's behind Peria (Jerry) and will play.
"If we had to make a decision today, which we don't, on Rivers, he'd probably redshirt, but a lot of that will be determined by injuries and things like that, but right now we don't feel we are going to have to use him and a redshirt would be best for him. He needs a year in the weight room to be all he can be."
A lot of eyes have been on the progress of LB Patrick Trahan. He gotr mixed reviews from Nix.
"I did not see enough playmaking. I would like to see make more plays and become more consistent. On one of the draw plays, he should have made the tackle, but all in all he's getting better," Nix closed.
RB Coach Derrick Nix in in an enviable position. He's got enough backs he thinks are game ready that he doesn't have to use too much psychology.
"We've got five guys at tailback I am getting more and more comfortable with," Derrick noted. "The two older guys - Cordera Eason and Derrick Davis - have been consistent and reliable and the three younger guys - Brandon Bolden, Enrique Davis and Devin Thomas - get a little better every day.
"It's a good motivator for all of them when all you have to do is say 'next' when one of them loses concentration or makes a careless mistake."
Derrick was pleased with the way Thomas capitalized on his opportunity for a longer look yesterday.
"Devin is very bright and has had some good practices here lately after starting a little slower than the other two young guys," Nix stated. "He made up some ground on them today.
"All three of those guys are raw, but they learn quickly and they have the ability we are looking for. I feel good about where we are right now and expect us to be much further along after two more weeks of practice."
WR Coach Ron Dickerson is also trying to settle in on a rotation and has the luxury of being more than two-deep at this point in time.
"I wanted to take a closer look at Andrew Harris, Jacarious Lucas and Melvin Harris. I liked what I saw," Dickerson said. "I wasn't too happy about Andrew fumbling after a nice reception and some moves in traffic, but I think he's going to be alright after his head stops spinning from all the information we have thrown at him.
"Melvin also did a really good job for us today. If we have any injuries, he will be in the mix, but he badly needs a year in the weight room. After he gets a little bigger and stronger, I think he's got a chance to be special. I hope we are able to redshirt him to give him the best chance to hone his skills and be all he can be physically."
If the opening game was tomorrow, Dickerson said he would go with a seven-man rotation at the wideout slots. Mike Wallace, Dexter McCluster, Shay Hodge, Markeith Summers, Lionel Breaux, Jacarious Lucas and Andrew Harris would all be im the mix, with the first five leading the way and getting the bulk of the reps for now.
Tyrone Nix on MTR scrimmage
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