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Monday Football Press Conference: What Coaches Luke, MacIntyre, and Rodriguez had to say

Monday Football Press Conference: What Coaches Luke, MacIntyre, and Rodriguez had to say

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke, defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre and offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez met with the media Monday in the Manning Center. Here’s everything the each had to say.

Head coach Matt Luke

Defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre

Offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez

Here’s the transcript of everything Coach Luke had to say about the Alabama game and the upcoming game with Vanderbilt, along with an injury update. 

Coach Luke’s opening statement:

“Starting off with a game recap, you’re always disappointed when you lose, but you have to give Alabama credit. They’re the number one team in the country for a reason. There are a lot of things we have to get fixed. Third downs showed up again. We have to find ways to get off the field on third down, getting more pressure, playing the right leverage. There were some positives that happened that we need to build on moving forward. That’s the key, let’s get some things corrected, let’s build on the things that were positive.”

Injury update…

“Patrick Lucas Jr., a true freshman, tore his Achilles so he’ll be out for the year. He’ll have surgery on Thursday and did not play in all four games, so he’ll be able to keep his redshirt. Ryder Anderson, hurt his ankle and knee, will also have surgery on Thursday, and we’re looking at four to six weeks, but we’ll know more after the surgery. Jon Haynes tweaked his ankle and he’ll be day-to-day going forward. Matt Corral looked better this morning, I’m anxious to see him throw on Tuesday. I’ll know a lot more Wednesday as far as the reps go. We’ll know more when we get back out there. He’ll be able to throw on Tuesday, but I don’t think it’s right to give you an evaluation until we see him go in practice.”

On the homecoming game against Vanderbilt…

“We’re really excited to be coming home. Homecoming evening game, we’re going to honor Patrick Willis so I expect this to be a great crowd. This is a huge game for us. I have a lot of respect for Coach (Derek) Mason and Vanderbilt. Keyshawn Vaughn is one of the premier backs in our league. They run around, play really well on defense. I’ve been impressed watching them on tape. This is a huge game for us, and we’re looking forward to a great atmosphere on Saturday in Vaught-Hemingway.”

On the running backs’ workload the last two games…

“It’s more of a running back by committee. They’re all in that 10-12 carry number, they’re all staying fresh, they’re all being affective. It’s less of what Scottie (Phillips) is doing wrong and more about us wanting to get more people involved and staying fresh.”

On the play of the defensive side of the ball, stopping the run, secondary play…

“Sometimes it’s not always about having one less in the box, it’s about proper technique. Some of those we are playing coverage, but you miss a tackle. It’s different things on different plays. Sometimes you do play press coverage, and he sits back there holding the ball and you can’t get the pressure. It’s a combination of us cleaning up the little details because we can be better. There are some things we can fix.”

On the plan for John Rhys Plumlee going forward if Matt Corral is healthy…

“He did enough where you’re going to see him no matter what happens. But again, we have to see Matt (Corral) go out there before we make decisions.”

On third down defensive fixes…

“We just need to go out there and execute. Two of Alabama’s touchdowns came on third downs. If you can get off the field there, you go into halftime making it a four-quarter game. It snowballed on us there at the end of the second quarter. We need to keep the pressure up. I think one time we came clean and didn’t make the sack, another time we didn’t make the tackle. It’s those little things of making the plays when they’re there. It’s the attention to detail. Third down has shown up two games in a row now, so that’s important to get fixed.”

On John Rhys Plumlee’s first start on the road in Tuscaloosa…

“That’s obviously a tough thing to do, to get your first start on the road in Tuscaloosa. I was very proud. There wasn’t an issue with the pre-snap and the communication and all the stuff you would think with a freshman quarterback. None of that was an issue. The moment didn’t look too big for him. I was excited about that. We ran the ball effectively, and that’s a good thing. We haven’t rushed for that many yards against them in a long time. I was pleased with a lot of the things we did.”

On special teams play against Alabama…

“The punt team, in particular, didn’t play very wall. (Jaylen) Waddle is a great returner, the plan was to kick it out of bounds or close to the sideline. We kicked it down the middle and he showed what he does. We just have to execute better if we want to win close games.”

On Vanderbilt QB Riley Neal…

“It’s hard to say. He’s a guy that’s a transfer. He’s a good player. He’s got a lot of experience. He’s accurate, he gets the ball out, and he’s got the leading returning receiver in the SEC. They have a really good running back, so they can do both. They have a good running game, a good play action, and some good tight ends that they can get the ball to, and a very good receiver. They have the ability to score some points for sure.”

On Grant Tisdale…

“It makes you feel good that you’ve got three good freshmen quarterbacks. He had a look in his eye when he was out there. He made the throws. He kept it on fourth down and went and got a first down with a really good throw. I was happy to see him take advantage of his reps when he got there.”

On the rushing game…

“When you watch it, there are always things you can clean up. We had two backs in there, with a tight end some, and the ability for the quarterback to run the ball. We talked about it from even the beginning of the season, them having to defend all 11 guys. That’s what you saw. When you have to defend all 11, it’s a little bit harder to defend the run or the tight end. I think you truly saw them having to defend all 11 guys.”

On Jerrion Ealy’s impact…

“It’s what you expect, but you don’t ever know until they get out there and go do it on these big stages. He caught a little naked route and made the guy miss in getting to the end zone. A couple times he broke free against a really good defense. The more and more he does that, the more you realize he is special and will continue to get better. But he is definitely making an impact in the game, and people are having to account for him.”

On redshirting Grant Tisdale…

“I think it will all depend. I think it does give us a flexibility. We definitely wanted to see him go in there and throw the ball some at the end of the game, to let him go out there and operate. I thought that was important that he got some reps under his belt. The four-game rule does give you a little bit of flexibility.”

On the 2019 freshman class playing…

“Some of it is by necessity, but it’s a very talented class. That is the exciting part that you want to build on, but these guys are going to continue to get better. You also have a lot of seniors that want to win right now. That’s what I was saying after the game. That is the frustration. You know the future is bright, you know we’re coming, but we want to win right now. These guys have been though a bunch, and we want to give the fan base something to be excited about and go win right now. That’s why this is a huge game on Saturday. I think that is the fun part about being in the SEC. Each week there is a new challenge and you have to put these young guys in position to win football games.”

On Patrick Lucas’ injury…

“He is a big, physical, athletic guy. Playing in that 3-4 scheme, he is a good fit for it. His effort was really good. He didn’t play against Memphis but did play some against Arkansas. He really just kept improving and is another one of those young guys that has a bright future. Just disappointing that it happened because he was really starting to come on. There is a positive, he’s had some learning and experience under his belt, we’ll get him fixed and he’ll have four years under his belt.”

On Ryder Anderson’s injury

“He had an ankle sprain and a knee injury that he is going have to be operated on. Not an ACL, it was a meniscus, but he has to have it operated 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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