OLE MISS COACHES CORNER: DERRICK NIX – RUNNING BACKS

nix2Derrick Nix is entering his seventh season as running back’s coach at Ole Miss.  A hold over from the previous Houston Nutt staff, this is his third year under Head Coach Hugh Freeze.

A true player’s coach that can coach the position, handle the players and personalities as well as do the job himself.

Nix, a graduate of the University of Southern Miss was a three time all-conference selection, a member of the Southern Miss Legends Club,  the first Golden Eagle to rush for 1000 yards as a freshman and sophomore and the only Southern Miss and CUSA players to rush for 1000 yards in three seasons.

Coach Nix has been through the good and the bad from coaching Brandon Bolden, Dexter McCluster and Cordera Eason in 2009 to using quarterbacks as running backs in Randall Mackey and Barry Brunetti due to a lack of depth in 2012.

Now, after a couple of good years of recruiting Nix has found his cupboard is full again and he has as many as eight guys battling for playing time at the end of Spring.

I asked Coach Nix what was his philosophy for coaching running backs.  Does he like the “by-committee” approach or would he rather have an every down back?

“I like an every-down back but you need about three of them, that you can rotate at any time.  When one guy goes out the team doesn’t miss a beat, they can catch a pass or hit the goal line.  You would like about 3 or 4 guys that are mirror images of each other.”

It would appear that his wish has come true with Jaylen Walton and Itavius Mathers, both solid Juniors that could both be the number one guy.

Behind these two are talented players like Mark Dodson, Jordan Wilkins, and Eugene Brazley who all hope to make their mark at the University of Mississippi.

Coach Nix was on the Southern Miss coaching staff and the Atlanta Falcons prior to joining the Rebels.

Hugh Freeze has had a very stable staff the last few years and that can only happen if the staff has good chemistry and enjoys their job.  Coach Nix gives credit to Hugh Freeze:

“I think that was a goal of Hugh Freeze that all of us work well together.  It’s a very strenuous job from the stress in recruiting and managing your guys, but at the same time you have to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, not a one of us is afraid to roll up our sleeves and work, but if you have a good time and enjoy being around each other that trickles down to the kids and they will work the same way.”

 

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