Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix said Tuesday that he hasn't done differently with regard to his team's tackling as Auburn quarterback Cam Newton appears on the schedule.
The Rebels were pretty bad against Arkansas, but Nix is counting on the idea that was an isolated incident and not the beginning of a trend. Ole Miss was better in getting ball-carriers down against Alabama and before that Kentucky.
“Oh we just talked about it and did the same things we've done all year. The bottom line is it takes a special act of courage and technique to finish a guy. You challenge them to that point and in the game we find out what happens,” Nix said.
While tackling Newton is the most obvious challenge, the matchup of defensive tackle Nick Fairley against the ever-changing Ole Miss offensive line is equally daunting.
Freshman Jared Duke was running with the first team. He and all his line mates were getting some extra coaching up.
Sophomore A.J. Hawkins, the former starting center, was not working with the first team. If Duke starts at right guard, the Rebels could potentially have three true freshman in the lineup – left guard Patrick Junen, center Evan Swindall and Duke.
This would be the lineup against Fairley, who lines up over center, and has 17 tackles for loss through eight games. In his All-American season in 2008, Ole Miss star Peria Jerry finished with 18 tackles for loss.
The Ole Miss line struggled to keep Arkansas defenders out of the backfield. Now comes Fairley, who has had at least one TFL each game and four times has had 2.5 TFLs or more.