Tyrone Nix -

The Vanderbilt offense is avearging a modest 307 yards per game, but they are putting up points at a clip of over 30 per outing. Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix knows the Rebs have their work cut out for them.

When Vanderbilt Quarterback Chris Nickson is mentioned in Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix's presence, he nods his head knowingly about Nickson's prowess.

But he doesn't dwell on Nickson long without also mentioning Vandy TB Jared Hawkins.

"We have to worry about both guys. Nickson is real good, but that guy Hawkins is a player," Nix said. "I don't know if we've seen a back like him yet. He gets his pads down and he runs hard.

"Nickson just makes plays. He also makes something out of nothing, which is what you worry about with a QB like him."

Nix took on the same theme as Coach Houston Nutt did in his Monday press conference when referencing Vanderbilt - good coaching.

"They are very well-coached and do not beat themselves," he continued. "They are probably the least penalized offense in the SEC, or right at the top. I think they are averaging one penalty a game. That's impressive."

Tyrone has experience against Vandy and a lot of the current Vanderbilt players. He was the DC at South Carolina last year and understands their ability.

"They are very effctive running the football. They make plays and they are explosive. That's why they are undefeated," he said. "I think this is the best Vandy team I have faced and I faced the Vandy teams with Jay Cutler and some of those guys. I think they are a very good team."

Tyrone hopes to have another weapon in his arsenal this weekend, DE Greg Hardy, who has been out with a stress fracture in his foot but is practicing this week and expected to play this weekend.

"I hope to be able to treat him like all the guys - put him out there and see if he can make a play," Tyrone said. "I want to see what he can do. If he dresses out, we're going to test him.

"Our pass rush has not been as good without him. I think he's special. When he's out there, we go to another level from what I have seen before he got hurt in practice. Without him, I'm not sure we have another true pass rush threat."

One of the bright spots on the Rebel defense has been the safeties, according to Nix.

"They have been playing very well. Jamarca Sanford and Kendrick Lewis have been very solid. They didn't play as well against Samford, but they are one of the strengths of our defense right now," Nix assessed.

At the corners, the Rebs moved Marshay Green up and Dustin Mouzon to second team last week. Green will remain teamed with Cassius Vaughn at the CB slots for the Vandy game.

"Cassius has been a little nicked up, but when he's healthy, he's been our best corner," Nix said. "We need more production from the other side, but we're working hard to get that."

Nix said he's glad to have the entire front back for the first time this year - fingers crossed on the rest of the week with Hardy's return.

"With Peria (Jerry), Ted (Laurent) and Greg - hopefully - back, we are finally going to see what we can really do up front," Nix closed.

The timing couldn't be better. Vandy awaits and the challenge is formidable.

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