DC Tyrone Nix breaks down his Ole Miss defense | Ole Miss Sports

Our Mississippi State beat writer Brad Locke and I had Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix on as a guest for this morning’s taping of “The Sports Zone.”

If you’re in or around greater Northeast Mississippi at 5 p.m., you should be able to catch it. It airs on WAJS-FM (91.7) and WAQB-FM (90.9).

A few highlights from Nix. …

- He reiterated the fact that he expects incoming freshman linebacker C.J. Johnson to play, but he is high on sophomore Mike Marry at middle linebacker, which is where Johnson, the state’s top recruit, played at Philadelphia.

It will be interesting to see if Johnson steps in at middle or another spot.

- He likes his linebackers as a group – it’s the position he coaches – and believes they can overcome the loss of D.T. Shackelford and be a productive group. He singled out Clarence Jackson and Ralph Williams for their work in the spring.

- He’s very excited to have DE Kentrell Lockett back and believes Lockett can regain his 2009 form.

- He remains high on juco transfer Wesley Pendleton in the secondary. Pendleton is very fast, and the Rebels certainly needed more speed back there. Pendelton wasn’t heavily recruited out of Co-Lin CC, but Nix feels he’s a guy who can make an imapct at corner.

- He sees Carlton Martin and Bryon Bennett, both redshirt freshmen from Madison Central, as starters at the interior defensive line spots. They are quick and athletic, and both made plays during the spring, though Martin’s spring ended early with a concussion. How physical they will be remains to be seen. Nix said you really can’t answer that question until they’ve played a handful of SEC games.