OXFORD, Miss — After practice yesterday, outside linebackers coach Ty Nix met with the media to talk about his position group and the upcoming game against Memphis.
Nix’s excitement about how well his linebackers are doing appears evident, especially when it comes to junior college transfer Sam Williams.
“He had a heck of a practice today,” Nix said of Williams. “He’s actually a kid that’s getting better with each rep, and I’m happy with Sam. He came in here at midyear and learned our system. He continues to improve. He earned a starting spot. We think he’s one of our best 11,” Nix added.
Williams is one of the top players in our “Most Impactful Rebels for 2019” series, coming in at No. 11. The JUCO transfer has locked up one of the starting roles at outside linebacker after having a terrific fall camp.
“He’s been great,” Nix continued about Williams.
“He’s tried to study. He’s put in extra time, and he doesn’t want to let his teammates down. He doesn’t want to let himself down. I am happy with his progress he’s made thus far.”
Coach Ty Nix on Sam Williams
Increased depth at OLB
Coach Nix said he thinks he’s got a lot of quality depth that has developed over the course of fall camp. “I think we’ve had a good camp,” he said. “We’ve had some guys to get banged up earlier which allowed us to get some more reps for some guys a little lower on the depth chart. I actually think it helped our true freshman Brandon Mack get a chance to feel how it plays on this level. All in all, I feel good,” Nix explained.
“I feel like I’ve got 2-3 guys at each position that can go in and contribute.”
Coach Ty Nix on outside linebacker depth
The afore mentioned Brandon Mack is one of the freshmen who signed with Ole Miss in the Class of 2019. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound linebacker out of Montgomery, Alabama has done a great job so far during fall camp, picking up additional reps when Qaadir Sheppard missed a few days after breaking his hand. Coach Nix said he would be willing to play Mack this season if the opportunity presented itself.
“He’s right probably where a true freshman should be,” said Nix. “Ideally you don’t want to play him. But they got that rule now that he can play in four games and we are preparing him to play. You know, he’s one of the guys whose going on the trip (Memphis) as of now and if something happens I won’t be afraid of putting him out there.”
Qaadir Sheppard update
Ever since Sheppard hurt his hand earlier in fall camp, the Broxn, N.Y. native has been playing while wearing a protective “club” on his hand. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker will start opposite of Williams against Memphis.
We asked coach Nix how Sheppard has looked in practice tackling with a cast on his hand. “He looks pretty good at times,” Nix said, smiling.
“I’d like to see him with it off, but we’re going to get him the smallest cast possible going into the game. I don’t think it will affect his performance very much.”
Coach Nix on Qaadir Sheppard’s hand injury
Don’t be shocked to see these outside linebackers get after Memphis quarterback Brady White Saturday. These linebackers are much more suited to put pressure on the quarterback in this 3-4 defense than they have been in recent memory under the 4-2-5.
The Landshark defense is going to make a big turnaround this season, and these defensive ends converted to linebacker are going to be one of the reasons why.
Coach Ty Nix speaks with media Tuesday, August 27, 2019. (Video credit: Derrell Hart, The Rebel Walk)