Tyrone Nix -

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix started the year - like a lot of coaches - with one request: get better each week. For the most part, he has seen that this season, most recently with a dominant second half performance against Alabama last Saturday. Read his thoughts inside.

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix is like a majority of coaches in his approach.

Give me all you've got, minimize your mistakes and get better each day and each week.

For the most part, the Rebel defense has responded to those requests/demands.

The one blip on the screen was the South Carolina game where very few Rebels, on either side of the ball, seemed to have the it factor.

He saw more of the "get better" theme realized in the Alabama game. Faced with a short field a couple of times, the defense gave up some points to the number 2-rated Tide and fell behind 24-3 at intermission. From there, it was all Ole Miss and the defense turned in a dominant performance.

Stop the presses. Was the word "dominant" just used to describe an Ole Miss defense? Yes, believe it was, and it is an apt description of that 30-minute effort.

"The kids fought and showed a lot of character. They did the things they needed to do in the second half and kept competing," said Nix. "They finished the fight but did get the win."

So where does Nix think the Rebel stoppers will go from here?

"I think we have gotten better every game - except one (USC) - so hopefully we will continue that trend. I know it will take our best performance this week against Arkansas to give us a chance to win," he continued.

The Razorbacks will give the Rebs the look defensive coaches are most concerned about - balanced.

"They do a good job in the run game and in the passing game and their line can run and pass block equally well," Nix noted. "If you watched their game against Auburn, they went up and down the field with relative ease. It seems they are starting to grasp what their offensive coaches are teaching now."

While the Rebel defense has shown improvement, Nix has had to take a different route to getting there than what he originally thought.

Back in the summer, he said he would "feed" the defensive players more and more of his system as they absorbed it. He said he got ahead of their learning curve against South Carolina and has now had to back off some.

"We are simplifying some right now. I put too much in against Carolina and had them thinking too much," Nix evaluated. "That was the max we have tried to do and it didn't work like we thought it would.

"From that point on, we have reduced the amount of gameplan. The biggest key is knowing what you are going to do well. That allows them to play fast and not play bogged down mentally. I think that showed up against Alabama."

Nix believes the honing down of what he and the defensive staff have asked their players to do will pay dividends and then he can start adding back more variety as they become more comfortable with the basics.

"Our biggest goal is to get better every week throughout the season, no matter how we have to get that accomplished," he closed. "Now we have to build off the Alabama game in another hostile environment."

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