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Ex-Ole Miss DC Nix lands at MTSU as co-coordinator

Tyrone Nix AP

A month after interviewing at Oklahoma for the position vacated by Brent Venablesmove to Clemson, ex-Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix has officially landed on his coaching feet.

Middle Tennessee State announced Tuesday that Nix was one of three new coaches added to Rick Stockstill‘s coaching staff. Nix will carry the title of co-defensive coordinator as well as linebackers coach for the Sun Belt program.

“I have known Tyrone for a long time and had the chance to coach with him for one year at South Carolina,” said Stockstill in a statement. “Tyrone is one of the most respected coaches in the country. He has coordinated defenses in the SEC the last seven years and those defenses ranked among the best in the SEC and nationally. He has a proven track record as a coordinator and has coached many all-conference, all-Americans, and NFL players.”

Nix has been a coordinator the past 11 years at Southern Miss, South Carolina, and Ole Miss, with the last four seasons spent with the Rebels.

In addition to Nix, Stockstill announced the hiring of ex-Texas Tech assistant Matt Moore as offensive tackles and serve as running game coordinator as well as former MTSU player Glen Elarbee, who will be in charge of offensive guards and centers.

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1 Response to “Ex-Ole Miss DC Nix lands at MTSU as co-coordinator”
  1. burntorangehorn says: Feb 22, 2012 4:14 PM

    Minor nit-pick, JT: Nix went to OU to interview for the LB coach part of Venables’ job, not that and the DC position.

    Anyway, Nix has been a pretty successful coach, for the most part. I thought Oklahoma made a mistake in not hiring him as LBs coach, but it’s probably better for him that he gets to be a coordinator again. Here’s what I said in a previous PFT story about Nix:

    “Great, I start reading up a little to brush up on Nix’s defensive production and draft picks, see in his wiki bio that he has eleven fingers, and I can’t find a picture that shows his entire left hand (the right has five–I counted). This is going to drive me nuts.

    Anyway, Nix has coached up a lot of excellent all-conference and all-american performers, national award winners and nominees, and NFL draft picks. He made guys like Rod Davis, Jasper Brinkley, and Michael Boley (who played low-level competition as a RB/S/WR in HS) into really good linebackers. He also coached Adalius Thomas as USM. His defenses had very good rankings all but in his last year at USM (2004) and last two years at Ole Miss (2010-2011). It’s hard to know what happened at Ole Miss, but I have a couple of theories:

    1. Loss of talent that was not successfully replaced. Nutt often seemed to treat recruiting as an afterthought at some of his other stops, and that held up at Ole Miss. When Nix’s defense lost future NFL players Periah Jerry (after 2008 season), JaMarca Sanford (2008), Kendrick Lewis (2009), Ashley Palmer (2009), Marshay Green (after 2009), Greg Hardy (2009), Emmanuel Stephens (2009), Patrick Trahan (2009), Cassius Vaughn (2009), and Jerrell Powe (2010). They also lost some solid starters who didn’t play in the NFL. Sure the losses of Jerry, Sanford, and Powe hurt, but that defense lost seven starters just to the NFL, not counting guys who didn’t make or are not currently on NFL rosters, after that solid 2009 season and prior to the significant drop for 2010. Returning star and NFL-caliber DE Kentrell Lockett also missed the opener (heart) and then suffered a season-ending injury very early. Their top defensive recruits from Nutt’s first class weren’t around (Stephens and Trahan were jucos and went to the NFL, Demareo Marr transferred, Derrick Herman and Jared Mitchell were moved from DB to WR, Horatio Williams didn’t qualify and went to juco and then LSU, Julian Whitehead and Darius Barksdale transferred, etc.), and of those who did play defense there in 2010, only Justin Smith was considered anything better than a two-star (mid-major quality) recruit. The same story was largely true for the second class, including top juco recruit Hornsby, who was released from scholarship due to felony assault charges, transfers like Willie Ferrell, and of course plenty of guys who didn’t qualify. Sure one could argue that Nix should’ve coached up what talent he had, but that many losses in one off-season can kill, especially when effed up by mediocre recruiting and double-effed by attrition of the least-mediocre recruits.

    2. The offense went from very competent to one of the worst in FBS. While Snead wasn’t good, he was better than anyone Ole Miss has had since, and they were actually forced to start Masoli, who had zero experience in that kind of offense. They lost all but three starters on offense, including its three best in RB/slot receiver Dexter McCluster, OL John Jerry, and WR Shay Hodge. They were in the bottom ten in FBS in scoring offense, total offense, 1st downs per game, 3rd down percentage, 4th down percentage, penalties, and sack yardage lost. I’m not sure what their total turnovers were, but they were ranked 88th in the nation at -6. They were also horrible in rushing average (3.4yds/carry, 17th-worst), passing yards per game (151.7, 13th-worst), sacks allowed (34, 19th-worst, and likely would’ve been 18th-worst but for the 13th games for some ahead of them), and bad in rushing yards per game (129.6).

    3. Coaching turnover may have played a key role on both sides of the ball. Popular Ole Miss alum OC Kent Austin, who at least provided some sort of balance to Nutt’s desire to control the offense in addition to being the HC, left after the 2009 season to take the head coaching job at Yale. He was succeeded by co-OCs Dave Rader and Mike Markuson. Rader, a former Tulsa HC and Alabama OC, had been out of football three years and working in sales for a manufacturing company in Tulsa when Nutt hired him. He was so bad he lasted just one year before he was fired and went back to his sales job. Markuson had already been Ole Miss’ OL coach and running game coordinator, and filled either OL coach or OC positions under Nutt every year since 1993, including at Murray St., Boise St., and Arkansas. He’s now the OL coach at Wisconsin, and probably very well suited for that job, but having him and Rader as co-OC’s with a micro-managing Nutt was a recipe for disaster.

    Anyway, long post, but the short of it is that Nix had mostly great runs as DC and LB coach at all his stops, and there are probably good reasons to look past the precipitous dropoff in 2010-2011. I think he’d make a good DC for a lot of programs, but an excellent hire as a LB coach for OU. I’m sure Steve Spurrier, under whom Nix was DC at South Carolina, can give his own former DC Stoops a pretty good idea of what he’d be getting in Nix.”

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