Pass coverage has been a struggle for Ole Miss this season, the Rebels’ 246.6 yards allowed ranking 11th in the conference, their 10 touchdowns given up the most in the league.
The Rebels began the season with two new corners and without an All-SEC caliber safety in Kendrick Lewis. Injuries have complicating things with three of the top four corners missing time with concussions, and strong safety Johnny Brown sitting out as well.
All things considered, defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix is glad to get his guys healthy again and thinks his secondary is ready to turn the corner.
“No doubt I’m excited to have those guys back. They give us a better chance,” Nix said. “And I will say that I think our secondary is improving.”
Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns against South Carolina. He did not thrown an interception, but he was sacked seven times, several times holding the ball too long and creating a bad play for the offense.
McElroy goes into the Ole Miss game as the SEC’s No. 4 QB in pass efficiency with a 169.1 rating. He’s thrown nine touchdowns and three interceptions on the season.
Nix sees improvement in the Rebels’ fundamentals, most notably keeping their eyes in the right place.
The secondary got its first interception of the season against Kentucky when Charles Sawyer picked off Kentucky QB Mike Hartline and returned the ball inside the 10.
“Looking at our past performance, our safeties are becoming more aggressive, our corners are becoming more aggressive. Its a matter of focus, not only in the secondary but at all positions. It’s more important in the secondary, because if you’re eyes are in the wrong place, things seem to happen.”