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The Rebels’ Run Defense Just Gets Worse And Worse

For three weeks running, the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Week honor has gone to a running back that had just faced the Ole Miss defense.  Each topped the 150-yard mark while the Rebel run continued its fall to the bottom of the conference’s stat table.  Mississippi has allowed 1,814 yards rushing this season and 5.48 yards per carry.

“(Opponents’) tailbacks are getting too many yards,” Houston Nutt said, stating the obvious.  “There are too many explosive plays.  We have to be better.  I think out guys know that.”

Here’s a look at how Tyrone Nix’s unit has been bludgeoned on the ground:

Total Rushing Yards
Leading Rusher
J. DiLuigi, 12 for 56
S. Illinois
S. Strother, 10 for 116
Z. Stacy, 11 for 169
I. Crowell, 30 for 147
Fresno State
R. Rouse, 28 for 123
T. Richardson, 17 for 183
D. Johnson, 15 for 160
M. Dyer, 27 for 177

Horrible, right?  Well, it gets worse.

Crowell, Richardson, Johnson and Dyer all recorded their season high in rushing yards against the Rebels.  And Vandy’s Stacy ran for more yards only against Army.

Lucky for Ole Miss Kentucky is banged up at running back and ranks just ninth in the SEC in rushing yards per game (139.7).  Then again, Arkansas cranked out 206 on the ground against UM and they rank one slot behind Kentucky.

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SEC Headlines – 10/10/11 Part Two

1.  In the SEC this season, Alabama and LSU are a class apart.

2.  Here’s an update on several Crimson Tide injuries.

3.  Auburn is looking for answers on offense.

4.  Defensive coordinator Ted Roof says his squad has “made strides every week.”

5.  Arkansas’ defense made Auburn work for its yards and points on Saturday night.

6.  The Razorbacks are 5-1 entering their well-timed open date.

7.  A special season is in the works at LSU.

8.  At his media gathering today, Les Miles talked John Chavis’ return to Tennessee, his defense, and the difference between “faux pas” and “fupa.”

9.  Mississippi defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix says he’d like to find a way to play with 12 men against Alabama.

10.  With Randall Mackey at quarterback, this writer says Ole Miss could record “an SEC win or two.”

11.  Mississippi State’s defense gets a “thumbs up” for its performance on Saturday.

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SEC Headlines – 4/26/11 Part Five

1.  This writer has some questions about the money Steve Spurrier will make under his new South Carolina contract.

2.  Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix discussed the Rebels’ 2011 defense right here.

5.  Wondering how many of this year’s project first-round NFL draft picks were four- or five-star recruits?  Most of ‘em.

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Nutt Mourns Shackelford’s Injury; UM Not Ready To Say “Next” Yet

The loss of starting linebacker DT Shackelford to an ACL injury puts a serious hurt on Ole Miss.  In fact, Houston Nutt says that his program might not be ready to fully deal with such a loss.

“He was a tremendous, tremendous leader and he’ll continue to be so.  The thing about this game is there’s always an opportunity.  You’re a play away.  You’re always a play away.  Sometimes players don’t believe that but you’re a play away.

“And we’re at a point with our program where it’s hard for us to say ‘next.’  We knew these next couple of years, starting with last year, when you lose that many seniors… it’s a building process.  And you want to get to where you can always say ‘next’ and we’re not quite there yet.  That’s why we’ll have to depend on some freshmen coming in that will have to play.  You’d love to redshirt them but they’re going to have to play.”

That “We can’t say ‘next’” line might be a tough sell for Nutt.  Although all schools go through up and down cycles, coming off a 4-8 season as you head into Year Four of your tenure is probably not the best time to be talking about rebuilding.  So much for all that oversigning Nutt’s done.

But one signee who might benefit from Shackelford’s injury is freshman CJ Johnson.  Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger: “We signed the best linebacker in the state of Mississippi, if not one of the best in the country in CJ Johnson.  It’s an opportunity for him to be smiling as well because he has the potential to see more playing time.”

Johnson was ranked by as the 21st best player in the nation and the #2 linebacker prospect in February’s class.

Shackelford has a redshirt year to use this year should he so choose.

(Sidenote — I went to college with a buddy named “Shackleford” and it’s tempting for me to misspell DT Shackelford’s name — it’s “elford” not “leford” — every time I type it.  When I slip, I apologize.  No insult is meant toward Shackelford.  It’s just an old man’s mind slowing going.)

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SEC Headlines – 11/5/10 Part Three

1.  In case you’ve missed the other 400 stories on this topic this week — Julio Jones and Patrick Peterson are ready for Round Three of their battle.

2.  Tomorrow’s Alabama-LSU game might as well be a “turn back the clock” game with its tough defenses and tailback-first offenses.

3.  LSU receiver Terrence Toliver is looking forward to challenging Bama’s man coverage.

4.  Mike Slive and an overflow crowd showed up for a memorial service to honor Nick Bell last night.  (Nice touch for the SEC’s commissioner to go to Starkville for the event.  Very nice.)

5.  Georgia Tech faced MSU and Bell the last two years and — in case you missed it — they wore an MSU logo on the backs of their helmets last night against Virginia Tech.  (A tip of the hat to Tech’s Paul Johnson.)

6.  “The strongest emotion there is is love.  And when you feel the love that I know I felt, that our team felt, our community felt for Nick, that emotion can overwhelm you.” — Dan Mullen at Bell’s memorial service.

7.  Ole Miss will be looking to snap a three-game slide when they host Louisiana-Lafayette tomorrow.

8.  After receiving a raise to stay in Oxford last offseason, Tyrone Nix picked a heckuva time to have an historically bad Rebel defense.

9.  Linebacker Jonathan Cornell — UM’s leading tackler — might be back from a hip injury tomorrow.

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