Tyrone Nix: 06' Defense Is "The Unknown"

Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix has his hands full working with a young defense this season, but he still believes that the talent is in place to be successful. GamecockAnthem.com recently caught up with Nix, and he shared his thoughts on the 2006 defense.

Question: What concerns you the most about this defense?

Answer: We haven't played a game yet. We haven't had an opportunity to play four quarters the way we expect to play.

Question: How has Cody Wells improved from last year to this year?

Answer: He's playing faster and playing his assignments better. He's playing better fundamentally. Doing those things helps him become a better football player.

Question: Have you decided who will redshirt this year?

Answer: No. We've got to get the best players out there and the guys who can factor in. I don't know anybody on defense right now that we'll redshirt.

Question: Are players like Matt Raysor, Stanley Doughty, and Kenrick Ellis, who have had weight issues, ready to play?

Answer: They're still a work in progress. They always will be, and that's the reason why they are in the condition they are now. They're making improvements. They got to practice, and the only way they can do that is if they met their criteria. They are getting closer and closer to where we expect them to be.

Question: Have you had to simplify your defensive schemes to accommodate the newcomers?

Answer: Probably so. We try to make all of it simple: wherever you're supposed to be, be there and do it full speed, play fundamentals. We're able to do a few things other than line up in the same position every play. We think we can [throw a few curves at the offense].

Question: What concerns you most about the Mississippi State offense?

Answer: I'm just concerned about our side.

Question: Has Fred Bennett's leadership helped with all the young players in the secondary?

Answer: I think it has. Fred's a good kid and he's worked hard. I think we've gotten a little bit better leadership out of a lot of guys. The biggest thing is these guys are trying to come out and compete every day and get better. That's your biggest sign of leadership: going out there, doing your assignment, and going full speed every day.

Question: What is your biggest strength on defense?

Answer: Probably the unknown. [laughs]

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