TRANSCRIPT: Matt Luke’s Opening Statement at SEC Media Days
Tuesday morning, Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke took the stage at SEC Media Days. He previewed the season, his 2019 team, and the approach the Rebels are taking.
Commissioner Greg Sankey introduced Coach Luke before the Rebels’ head coach took the podium.
COMMISSIONER SANKEY: Matt Luke, the head football coach at Ole Miss is entering his third season at his alma mater, served in a number of assistant coaching roles prior to being named head coach and in 2016 was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award. He began his career in college football as a student-athlete, a walk-on student-athlete at Ole Miss and eventually became the team’s captain and graduated as a three-year letter winner for the Rebels.
He’s cousins with fellow Gulfport native Brett Favre. His father preceded him playing at Ole Miss as a defensive back and his brother Tom at quarterback at University of Mississippi. Ole Miss head football coach, Matt Luke.
MATT LUKE: Thank you, Commissioner. It’s obviously an exciting time. Excited to be here. We came in last night because of the weather and pulled up to the hotel, and you see this huge SEC sign and all of the banners of all the different schools, and just after being a player and coach in this league for now 19 seasons, you realize how fortunate and how blessed you are to be part of one of the greatest conferences in college football.
So, very excited to be here. There’s a lot of excitement in our building right now for a lot of different reasons. We’ve had a very productive and a very busy offseason. We were able to sign 31 guys in last year’s class. That’s a huge class. But it was a top 25 class, and most importantly, it gets us back to that full number of 85 for the first time since 2014.
You guys all know that depth is a huge, huge part of being in this league, and I’m — even though the faces are going to be new and young, I’m excited to see those guys compete.
I thought — I really liked what we did with our coaching staff in the offseason. We made changes on both sides of the ball, hiring Rich Rodriquez on offense and Mike MacIntyre on defense. I think when you hire two former National Coaches of the Year, I think that obviously brings a wealth of knowledge to your staff, but I think it also makes a statement. I think it makes a statement to our commitment to winning and about what we’re trying to do at Ole Miss.
And then obviously we have an opportunity for the first time in two years to go back to the postseason. I think our fans excited about it. I know our players are excited about it. I’m excited about it. To have that opportunity to walk into a living room and not have a cloud hanging over your head, I think you’re seeing an immediate impact on the recruiting trail because of that.
Offensively, you’re going to see a bunch of new faces. We’ve got to replace three new offensive linemen, three receivers, a new quarterback. But I really like the direction we’re heading. I think even though we’re going to be young, I think we’re going to be talented and fun to watch.
I was very, very impressed with Rich Rodriquez this spring, not only implementing his offense, but seeing the attitude and the toughness that he’s instilling in that side of the ball. And I think that’s going to be a dynamic unit. It’s going to be fun to watch.
Defensively, you’re going to see a huge change. We’re going from four down to Mike MacIntyre’s 3-4 system. Mike and I worked together for several years and knew he was a great teacher, but really enjoyed seeing the way this defense bought in to this system. We got a bunch of guys on that side of the ball that have played a lot. And quite frankly, they are tired of hearing about how bad they are.
So you really saw them playing with a chip on their shoulder this spring, and I think we take the field against Memphis. I think you’re going to see a much-improved defense. Obviously we got to go out there and prove it on the field, but I’m really looking forward to that. I’m honored to be here and honored to be the head coach at Ole Miss, and at this time I’ll open it up for any questions you may have.