Ole Miss’ defense was so dominant Wednesday during practice that coach Houston Nutt said the offense couldn’t get a first down during the team work.
For Nutt, that’s a double-edged sword.
“I hope it’s the defense was that good. That’s what I’m hoping,” said Nutt, acknowledging that the offense has to get better.
Senior nose tackle Jerrell Powe can probably help his coach out with that quandary. Since before preseason practice began, Powe has been saying this defense has a chance to be special.
Based on what’s transpired this preseason, in particular the way junior college newcomer Wayne Dorsey has pushed to become a more complete player at end, this is shaping up to be perhaps the strongest Ole Miss defense yet under Nutt and defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix.
There are still a lot of new faces who will need to come through in the secondary, but Powe likes the makeup of this defense.
“I definitely think we can carry this team,” Powe said. “We’re going to be real special, and I’ve heard a lot of people comparing us to the 1993 group. It’s going to be on us to hold it down until the offense gets it going, and they will.”
That 1993 Ole Miss defense was plenty nasty, even though the Rebels finished just 6-5 that season. They allowed 142 points in 11 games (12.9 points per game) and didn’t give up more than 21 points in a game all season.