The Auburn Tigers just got clobbered by No. 1 LSU last Saturday, but Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix is not letting that poor offensive showing fool him as the Rebels prepare to take on Auburn Saturday at Auburn.
"They are very multiple and explosive," said Nix. "They do a great job with formations. We will have to be very disciplined with our assignments and play disciplined football."
Having said that, Tyrone knows that when push comes to shove, Auburn will come back to the run game, with TB Michael Dyer and TB/WR Onterio McCalebb, their speedster.
"They are a run-first football team and always have been. They are also physical, and always have been," Nix continued. "They are physical up front.
"Dyer was one of the top backs in the country coming out of high school. He's strong and physical and he doesn't look like it, but he seems to always run past people. I don't know if he's as elite as (Alabama's) Trent Richardson, but he's right there with him. Also, we have to contain McCalebb. We always start from the inside out, but with him in the lineup, we have to leverage things from the outside in because if you let him have the corner, he's hard to keep out of the end zone."
The Rebels have been susceptible to giving up the big play. Nix has a theory on why and the remedy for that malady.
"I think we have been going for the kill shot too much. The most important thing is getting the guy on the ground, not making a Sports Center highlight reel," said Tyrone. "Again, we have to be more disciplined in how we do things."
Auburn may play three quarterbacks - Barrett Trotter, Clint Moseley and Kiehl Frazier.
"Frazier is more of a runner, but the other two are very similar. The thing is, they really don't change their offense a whole lot no matter who is playing QB," Nix explained. "They've had some injuries to some wideouts which has forced them to rely more on the run lately, but they are explosive when they get it going."
Nix said the Rebs are not going to do anything they haven't done before, they just have to do it better.
"It would be nice if we could sign a free agent, like the NFL, but we can't. We will go with the guys we have and play hard," he said. "I think we will go with Uriah Grant more on the inside this week instead of at end, and Charles Sawyer is still at corner. But other than that, we won't change too much."
Grant doesn't care if he plays inside or outside - it's about the team.
"I have played inside my whole career, but if they need me outside, I am ready - anything to help this team," said Uriah. "It's different outside because you have to set the edge on some calls and play in space more. On the inside, you kind of know you are going to get a double or a chip or whatever. You aren't in space as much."
Grant has the solution to the Rebs' problems.
"One, we have to be more physical. Two, we have to play for four quarters," he explained. "I don't know why we have not played a complete game, but we haven't. We just have to keep our motors going. We can't play two quarters and then not finish like we did last week. That won't work. We found that out the hard way.
"Look, every game comes down to the D-line. We have to play better to take pressure off the linebackers and secondary. It's down to us and we have to perform better. That's it."
Houston Nutt's keys to the game this Saturday against the Tigers go back to basic football.
"We are looking forward to the game," said Nutt. "We've had a good week of practice - now we have to take it to Saturday. The number one key is getting those two backs, No. 23 (McCalebb) and No. 5 (Dyer), on the ground. Those guys are really good football players. Dyer is a power/counter guy who breaks tackles. McCalebb is a speed guy.
"We can't allow what happened last week with Dennis Johnson of Arkansas where he popped a big one for a TD right before half. On offense, we have to execute the way we did in the first half against Arkansas for the whole game. You can't just execute some of the time or part of the time in this league. Also, it's very important that our special teams are sharp on the road. We need to win the special teams game."