Nix pleased with defense in 2nd half

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix pointed to the scoreboard to assess his players following the 27-13 loss to Georgia.
He sees a unit much improved from 2010 and poised for better things.
The Rebels gave up 475 yards, the most they’ve allowed this season, but Nix was pleased that Georgia scored only three points in the second half.
Nix downplayed what many thought was a bit of an unusual week for Ole Miss as athletics director Pete Boone – in the wake of last week’s 30-7 loss at Vanderbilt — addressed the football program at the weekly news conference on Monday.
Nix called it “normal.”
“He talked a little bit about his expectations and the things that he wanted to see done, but that’s not different from us as coaches. We have those same expectations every week, and we strive for those results,” Nix said. “We didn’t get them today, but we made improvement. At the end of the year you make your decision on how much improvement you made, but I feel like right now we’re a hell of a lot better than we were a year ago. We’re not where we need to be, but we’re headed in that direction.”
In a game in which Ole Miss had two touchdowns called back by penalties, Nix questioned a few no-calls that he believed could have gone against Georgia.
“I think the non-penalties were just as big. I think there were times we felt like we were held and didn’t get off blocks quick enough for reasons other than our athletic ability. The film will show all that,” he said. “The bottom line is you have to make plays, and our kids didn’t make enough in the end.”
Two-way day
In a week when Nick Brassell began to focus more on defense, the former South Panola star showed he really can be a two-way impact player.
Brassell’s 81-yard punt return was the second punt return touchdown of the season for Ole Miss.
It came 49 seconds before halfitme and gave the Rebels a lift going into the locker room down 24-13.
Brassell took a handoff from Jeff Scott, then turned the corner, made a defender miss and took it up the Georgia sideline.
“Jeff pushed hard and came right, and I saw that Georgia was coming with him. He gave me a great handoff,” Brassell said. “When I got the ball I saw like two people in front of me, and it was like, ‘Ain’t nobody going to stop me from getting it.”
Brassell also had two catches for 52 yards with a long reception of 37 yards.
Defensively he finished with one tackle.
Key Play
A 29-yard run off the right side from Georgia freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell got the Bulldogs out of the shadow of their goalline and sent them on their way to a 99-yard drive.
Key Number – 183
The 183 yards of total offense were the fewest for Ole Miss since gaining only 179 in a 17-10 win against Vanderbilt in 2006.
Key Drive
It took Georgia only eight plays to move 99 yards and got up 17-0 with 6:01 left in the second quarter. That gave the Bulldogs a lead of more than two touchdowns against an offense averaging less than one touchdown a game against FBS foes.
The Bulldogs faced third-and-9 from their own 2 when Crowell broke free. Crowell didn’t break a lot of tackles, but his teammates had the left side sealed.
Two plays later Georgia got a 69-yard gain when Aaron Murray found receiver Malcolm Mitchell behind Ole Miss cornerback Marcus Temple.
Quotable
“I thought our offensive line was much better, but we’ve got to put up some points. The thing that hurts us in the three-and-outs. We were so quick to get back to the sidelines and put our defense out on the field.” – Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt
Rebel Ramblings
Safety Charles Sawyer posted his third interception of the season and now has five for his career. … Sawyer also posted a season-high nine tackles. … Ole Miss has seven interceptions this season after recording just six in 2010. … Freshman linebacker Serderius Bryant had eight tackles, and junior college transfer defensive tackle Uriah Grant had a season-high seven stops. … Middle linebacker Mike Marry led the Rebels with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. … Junior punter Tyler Campbell averaged 50.8 yards on nine kicks and had three downed inside the 20. Most of Campbell’s punts were “rugby” style, or on the run, as the Rebels sought to neutralize the Georgia return game.
parrish.alford@journalinc.com