The Rebel defense held Vanderbilt to 202 yards and scored a touchdown on a Vandy turnover when Peria Jerry picked up a fumble and rumbled for a score after Ted Laurent shook the ball loose from Dores' QB Chris Nickson.
Things like that make a DC smile, but the final two and a half minutes of the game, when Vandy drove down the field for a late field goal, make the smile disappear.
"I see improvement. We are making strides. We still lack focus at certain times in the game," Nix said. "We are still having a few too many missed assignments, but we are getting better. The last Vandy drive sticks with me, but overall we did a pretty good job of stopping their offense."
Nix was asked about DT Jerrell Powe and some other backups making strides and getting more snaps in the last two weeks.
"Jerrell has practiced hard and has gotten better and when you do that, you get a chance to play in the games," Tyrone stated. "He's coming on but so are a lot of the backups.
"We rotated a lot of kids in there against Vandy and if you did your job, you got to stay in there a little longer. If not, you came out. We feel we can rotate two guys at all positions and in some cases we've got a third guy, but it is all based on what they do in practice and then how they perform in the games. Against Vandy, the starters and the backups did a nice job, for the most part."
Nix was not at Ole Miss when Florida Quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow punished the Rebels a year ago in Oxford, but he's familiar with the talented Gator junior.
"He tore us up at South Carolina too," Nix laughed. "He does everything well. He throws the ball well, he runs the ball well and he puts them in the right plays. Tebow also doesn't make many mistakes. Right now, Florida is +9 in the turnover ratio. They have not turned the ball over once offensively to this point and their defense has created nine turnovers.
"He's smart and is playing good football."
Florida's offensive stats don't jump off the page at you, but Nix said there's a reason for that.
"Their defense has given them tremendous field position. Their offense has taken the field a lot with a short field to work with either from their defense or special teams putting them there," he explained. "They don't have far to go to get in the Red Zone and then they capitalize when they get down there. They've done a good job so far."
The Rebel defense is now, for all intents and purposes, healthy for the Florida game.
Only backup LB Don Hargroder and backup DL LaMark Armour, both with season-ending knee injuries, are out.
"It's good to get Peria Jerry, Ted Laurent and Greg Hardy back and it's also good the rest of the team, to this point, has stayed healthy. That helps with your continuity when you are trying to build consistency," Nix closed.
Tyrone Nix -
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