Only two players - QB Jevan Snead and WR Dexter McCluster - were in white jerseys, indicating no…
Tyrone Nix -
You can look high and low, far and wide, in and out and you will never find a coach who is totally satisfied. But you can find a mentor every once in a blue moon who is pleased with what has transpired. Ole Miss Defensive Coordinator Tyrone Nix just might fall in the "pleased" category after watching the Rebel defense tear through spring training with a purpose and with fire. "We were looking for every position to improve coming into spring. In spring, you can only get better or get worse. There are no in betweens, to me. I think we got better overall," he said. "In the majority of our practices, we made steps forward, which is pleasing." Tyrone feels his first unit is somewhat solidified. Now, it's a matter of firming up the backups. "Guys like Jerrell Powe, Emmanuel Stephens and a couple of others have had good springs, but there are still some unknowns," Nix added. "We feel good about where some of our backups are and we feel like some of them can push for starting spots if they come back strong after a good offseason, but we are still searching and pushihg for a few more to take that next step to that next level." Nix and Coach Houston Nutt have been singing the praises of DT Jerrell Powe for his improvement in spring. "His weight loss has allowed him to become a better player. He can make an impact in 2009. He should get better now every day if he will continue the committment he gave us in spring," Nix said. Overall, for 14 practices, Nix liked what he saw in spring, for the most part. "The kids challenged themselves and were committed to doing things the right way," he said. "They responded to the challenge of being the best they can be. At this point, I feel we are where we are supposed to be, but we certainly need to continue on that path and improve some more." Nix wants the trademark of the 2009 Rebel defense to be effort, which he saw in spring. "We want our kids to play the game with passion and effort - refuse to be blocked and refuse to stay on the ground," he continued. "If we get maximum effort out of all 11 guys, we can do some good things. "We improved in that area. We grade ourselves on effort, togetherness and understanding the scheme and I thought we got better in those areas. The older guys have to lead and I saw that surface too. Guys like Kentrell Lockett, Kendrick Lewis, Patrick Trahan and Marcus Tillman had outstanding springs and their efforts were contagious. The rest of them wanted to up their level of play to match the leaders, so it was infectious." Nix stated prior to the Grove Bowl he felt he had "16 or 17" players ready to compete in the SEC. Did that number change via the last week of spring ball or in the Grove Bowl? "We're still in that range. We have some guys right on the verge, we think, and I think we will get to 22, maybe even a player or two higher, in time," he closed. "As I said, we are pleased with where we are right now, at the end of spring training, but we have plenty of work to do between now and September 5th."
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