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Cornell seems healthy

Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix went with a smaller, quicker lineup in some spots against Louisiana. Whether out of necessity or choice, it appears he'll go that route again against Tennessee Saturday. Read about it inside.

Asked if he would go with his "quicker" lineup that he employed in the game last Saturday against Louisiana, Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix gave the only answer he could.

"We are going to go with the healthiest guys who are playing fast that we have," said Nix. "Right now, the ones we played last week give us the best chance to win.

"We will continue to evaluate players all week and go from there. In some cases, we don't have many choices, but we'll get it figured out with who is available."

Nix went with D.T. Shackelford and Jason Jones as his starting defensive ends. D.T. to get more speed on the field, Jason because Gerald Rivers (ankle) was injured.

"Both of them held up very well in the last game, but against SEC competition, in certain things we are trying to do, we'll have to try to get some bigger guys in the game too," he explained.

The other new starter was Middle Linebacker Mike Marry, who was playing for senior Jonathan Cornell, who sat out to fully recover from a hip injury sustained in the Auburn game.

Jonathan Cornell

"Cornell looked fine today (Tuesday). I think he'll be full speed by Saturday," noted Nix. "I think Mike (Marry) had a lot to do with that. Mike made plays and I believe that helped Cornell heal a little quicker (smiled).

"Rivers is not with the starters right now, but he's in the rotation. If he's full speed by Saturday, he's got a chance to start."

The Rebs, apparently, will stay with DTs Jerrell Powe and Ted Laurent, OLBs Allen Walker and Joel Kight and the secondary of CBs Jeremy McGee and Marcus Temple and safeties Damien Jackson and Johnny Brown to go with Shack, Cornell and Jones.

Tennessee will counter with a young offensive line consisting of one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen; a freshman quarterback in Tyler Bray and the chief run threat, Tauren Poole, a junior. Two senior wideouts will be on the receiving end of Bray's passes along with TE Luke Stocker, a proven threat and also a senior.

"At quarterback and on the OL, they are young, but they have experience at their other skill positions and are talented," said Nix. "From everything I have seen, Tyler has a big time arm and is a really good, young football player. He knows the offense and has outstanding potential.

"Also, their offense didn't change when they went from Matt Sims to Bray. They utilize all their weapons well. Bray will throw first and run second, but he's capable of gaining yards with his feet."

Poole is the fifth-leading rusher in the SEC with 729 yards, two yards more than the Rebs' Brandon Bolden.

"It's amazing, but Tennessee has had a history of producing outstanding running backs. Poole is in that class. He's explosive and it seems like every time he touches the ball he's a hiccup away from putting it in the end zone," stated Nix. "We will have to do a good job of leveraging the football and getting 11 hats to the ball to keep him corralled.

"He's a make-you-miss guy, but he can also run with power. He seems to have a burst. I think he's a really good back. Tauren can run inside or outside and they use him in the passing game as well. We have to be aware of number 28, for sure."

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