Tyrone Nix’s evaluation of Ashlee Palmer wouldn’t lead one to believe that the Ole Miss linebacker had a trying spring.
“I think he’s an athlete with outstanding speed for the position,” said Nix, who accepted the Ole Miss defensive coordinator position last December and coached Palmer for the first time during the spring. “He’s made a lot of around-the-ball plays in a short period of time here in Oxford and we’re hoping we can get him performing at a higher level where he can potentially be an all-conference performer.”
Palmer, a 6-foot-2, 222-pound senior from Compton, Calif., wants to be an All-SEC linebacker as well, and he thinks he knows what he must improve on this fall for it to happen.
“Honestly, I think I had a terrible spring only because it was me not being consistent,” Palmer said. “I think that’s what they’re looking for out of me — to be more consistent tackling-wise, to be better in coverage, to read the guards, things like that.”
Palmer, who started all 11 games last season, accumulating 89 tackles, one caused fumble, two fumble recoveries, 10 pass break-ups, four quarterback pressures, one-half of a quarterback sack and three interceptions, said that while he learned Nix’s system quickly, there was an adjustment period getting used to an entirely different style of coaching in the spring.