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Monday Presser: Everything Coach Luke had to say

Monday Presser: Everything Coach Luke had to say

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke held the Rebels’ weekly football press conference Monday morning in the team meeting room of the Manning Center. Coach Luke took questions from the media as did defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff and offensive coordinator Phil Longo.

Following is Coach Luke’s opening statement, as well as his answers to the press.

Opening statement…

“Just disappointment after watching the tape (Alabama game), I felt like we had worked really hard to get back to a big game. I just want to thank all the people that came out. The Grove was phenomenal, the home field advantage was great. We worked really hard to get back to that point of having a big game in Oxford. I’m just disappointed that it didn’t turn out the way that we all hoped. After watching the tape, the little things, the execution errors when you play the number one team in the country, they show up bigger. That starts with me. It’s my job to put a team on the field that executes. There are no shortcuts, the only thing you do is get off the mat and go back to work to fix the problems, and that’s what we plan on doing. We have a great opportunity this week to try to go 3-1 against a really good Kent State team, and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing.”

On Ta’amu’s QB scramble and getting hit…

“Anytime you’re hit as a quarterback it does affect you some. On the play you’re talking about, it was a QB draw, and he was trying to make the safety miss and hit from the side. He didn’t see the guy coming and it caused the turnover, but again that’s a credit to them. When you play against a really good team, those little things really show up. Ball security and those things really show up.”

On execution…

“I think some of it is just confidence and going out there executing over and over again, and then a little bit extra because the magic is not in the scheme. The magic is in effort and the execution of it, and a lot of that is coaching and getting guys to react and see things and play the game. But again, ultimately that’s the coach’s job to get those guys to go out there and execute, and that’s what we have to do better.”

On Montrell Custis and other injury updates…

Montrell Custis tore his ACL. He’s going to have surgery Thursday so he won’t be back. That’s a tough blow to the secondary. Vernon Dasher will have to step in there and Cam Ordway as well, and they will. Ken Webster, his hamstring, is still out. He’s probably questionable (for Saturday). Eric Swinney just has to get back in shape, but he’s probable for this week so it’ll be good to get Eric back in the rotation.”

On the loss of Custis and rotation at the star position…

“You have Dasher and Ordway there. Myles Hartsfield can move in there from the corner position. The problem is when you’re down Ken Webster and Jaylon Jones, it gives you a little bit less. Myles Hartsfield can go there if he needs to, but you have Dasher and Cam Ordway there.”

On depth chart at cornerback…

“Right now, Jalen Julius and Javion Hamilton will start, but Keidron (Smith) is playing really well. Myles (Hartsfield) is having to do so many different things that he’s in there giving guys reps, being at corner and coming in some at star so it’s good to have a guy like that as he can back up a bunch of different positions. I was very impressed with Keidron as a true freshman coming in. He made some nice plays there, so I think he’s getting better and better. I want to keep seeing that improvement.”

On reps at STAR for Hartsfield…

“It depends on how it’s going with Vernon (Dasher) and Cam (Ordway), but again Myles is going to be playing corner. If we need him in an emergency, he can go into that star.”

On playing time for Matt Corral

“I think if we can find a way to get him playing a game to where he isn’t just handing the ball off, but if he’s having to go through reads and making decisions, then your wanting to use one of those four games to do that. But if you’re going to go in there and hand it off, that’s not the time just to go in there and hand the football off. You want him to have to go through his reads, through his progressions and really go in there and get better. But Matt is the backup quarterback. He’s one play away from playing all the time, and if the situation presents itself, he’s going to be ready to go.”

On attacking Alabama’s two-deep defensive look…

“That happened on a couple of plays, but not on every one. The biggest thing I saw was they were able to get pressure on the quarterback. That was the difference. The batted balls, the pressure on the quarterbacks. We had several plays where we had guys open, and their corners made some good plays. Our second play from scrimmage was very close to scoring as well. Credit Alabama for getting pressure on the quarterback and playing good football. The little things showed up. The steps that maybe didn’t affect you against Texas Tech and Southern Illinois—or the set or the hand placement or the hat placement—the little things started showing up when you play against a really good football team. That’s up to us to see that and make sure we go out there and correct it.”

On the mindset of the team right now…

“Any time you’re dealt a disappointing loss, the thing is we’ve been here before. It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you can get back up. The resilience to get up off the mat and go prepare. This is one of our 12 opportunities, and we have the opportunity to be 3-1, and that’s our intention.”

On offensive line play against Alabama…

“Credit Alabama a lot because they forced some of those things with how they’re playing. To me, it goes back to execution. It’s little things—your hand placement, your hat placement, your sets. Everything needs to be on point and really good when you’re playing against a good team. You give a lot of credit to Alabama for forcing those things to happen, but it’s our job to go out there and fix it.”

On not letting the game beat you twice…

“These kids will fight back. It’s good to be around them on Sunday. We watched the tape, put it behind us and moved forward. Now the focus is on Kent State and going to find a way to win that game.”

On correcting defensive focus and execution…

“I think just energy and focus and confidence and making a play. There was a play in the second half where Benito Jones made a play, and it changed the sideline. That’s infectious. And so are the big plays. We have to find a way to capture that, bottle that and make that who we are. Make that our calling card. That’s what we’ll be striving to get—more of those plays that erupt the sideline with the energy, the emotion and the passion that you have to have to play winning football in this league.”

On defensive execution…

“You have to be able to communicate and do your job. That’s a big part of it. It all falls back to coaches. When you go on the field, you have to be able to execute it. That’s our job. That’s my job as a head coach to make sure that happens. If you have to simplify, then you have to simplify, but when they walk out there, they have to know what’s going on.”

 

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship--and continued as she watched Katie receive three degrees from Ole Miss, culminating with her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn, a member of the FWAA, USBWA and the NCBWA, has covered Rebel sports for numerous outlets. In addition to working for The Rebel Walk, Evelyn is a sports writer for a newspaper in Texas.

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