Coach Talk: Tyrone Nix on Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy turned heads during Carolina's OTAs. But how much can the Panthers realistically expect from their sixth-round pick? To find out, we speak with Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix, who paints a sunny forecast for his former prodigy.

The Carolina Panthers selected Greg Hardy in the sixth round (No. 175 overall) of this year's draft. This after a four-year career at Ole Miss in which Hardy racked up 146 tackles, 26 sacks and six forced fumbles.

Hardy missed Ole Miss' final three games last season with a wrist injury. But he is healthy now and making an impact during OTAs, wowing coaches with his speed and conditioning.

For more on Hardy, we turn to Tyrone Nix, the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Ole Miss.

LaShana Marshburn: Tell us about your experience coaching Greg.

Tyrone Nix: It was an adventure every day to coach a kid with so much ability and talent. It was wonderful.

LM: What are some of his best attributes?

TN: He has speed; he has natural strength; he has great hands; and he's pretty smart. I think he's smart enough to play more than one position and be a factor in more than one position as long as he understands the game.

LM: Does that mean you see him contributing somewhere other than D-end?

TN: I think Greg has the ability to play numerous positions, starting with defensive end, linebacker, tight end, maybe even defensive tackle. He has that kind of ability.

LM: Did you notice the Panthers showing interest in Greg prior to the draft?

TN: I really don't get into that. We enjoy the kids coming in as young men and leaving as adults. That's what we pay a lot of attention to. Of course, when one of them is fortunate like Greg and gets to play professionally we're really excited. He's a kid that's taken his talent to a higher level and we're hoping he stays there for a long time.

LM: What was it about your program at Ole Miss that prepared him to have a long career in the Big Leagues?

  TN: We have the right people in place, starting with head coach Houston Nutt. It trickles down, but the thing that got Greg into the NFL was Greg and his ability, the way he made plays and the way he played the game. That's what got him drafted. In the position he's in, Carolina will probably keep Greg up there for a while.

LM: Greg dealt with a few injuries in college, including a wrist injury that derailed his 2009 campaign in November. Can you tell us what you saw from him as he rehabbed and worked his way back from those injuries?

  TN: It's unbelievable. Greg has the desire to accomplish anything he wants to. When he sets his mind on what he wants to get done, there's no stopping him. It just speaks volumes for the strength that he has mentally. When he wants to push himself to the highest level...with his ability and his work ethic, he can play in the NFL a long time.

  LM: You've made a couple mentions of Greg possibly having an extended NFL career. Where must he improve to make that happen?

TN: I think the biggest thing is to stay healthy. I think that's the only thing that held him back at all [at Ole Miss]. He just has to stay healthy.

Will Hardy crack the starting lineup this year? Discuss inside the message boards.


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