January 15, 2008

Younger Nix talks about Ole Miss

There are plenty of reasons why Derrick Nix is excited to be on Houston Nutt's first staff at Ole Miss.

The Rebels' running backs coach joined the staff after Louis Campbell left to take a position at Mississippi State.

With defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix already on board, Derrick said he was excited to spend some more time with his big brother.

"He's got a family, a nephew and niece that I love to be around, and now, I get to watch them grow up too," Derrick Nix said. "It's a real good situation."

And while Derrick gets to enjoy being an uncle a little bit more, having a pair of Nix boys in Oxford makes things easier on the rest of the family too.

"It's a huge deal. Anytime you get both brothers or family members in the same place, it's easier for your mom and dad and other brother to come and visit," Nix said. "You don't have to worry about wearing different teams' shirts or anything like that."

Nix spent last season in Atlanta, working for the Falcons and new Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino. While things ended sloppily in Atlanta, Nix said the experience helped him grow as a coach.

"I was exposed to so much football," he said. "It was a time for me, in that stage of my coaching career, to really concentrate on the ins and outs, the techniques, different schemes and things of that nature."

And that experience in the NFL should be a valuable asset in dealing with collegiate and prep players with big dreams.

"I can tell them what it's like," Nix said. "A lot of them have aspirations of being at that level. I can show them what it takes to play at that level. I've seen it first hand."

While Nix enjoyed his NFL experience, he said he missed the relationships built during recruiting.

"Being a young guy, dealing with these kids is kind of a passion," he said.
I like to see those young guys come up from the ninth grade and work their way up through their high school career and develop in college.

"It's special to work with kids that young, watch them develop and recruit them."

And for the former standout running back at Southern Mississippi, it's special to be working in a place where he's most comfortable.

"It felt like coming back home," Nix said. "I was in the south part of the state at Southern Miss, but Mississippi is Mississippi. Once you're in it, it's like you're locked to this place forever."

Since coming to Oxford, Nix said he's put plenty of time focused on recruiting. And while the Rebels lose their top returning rushers in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bruce Hall, Nix knows there's talent returning.

"I looked at a little of tape from a year ago," Nix said. "I remember recruiting Cordera Eason and Derrick Davis when I was at Southern Miss, and I think both of those two are very talented individuals.

"They're bigger backs and guys who can make yards after contact."

Nix said he's familiar recruiting Northern Mississippi and Memphis from his days at Southern Miss, but as of last Thursday, his recruiting territory had yet to be assigned.

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