Local Athletics

Published on September 10th, 2018 | by TLV News

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Ole Miss Football Coach Looks Ahead to Rebels’ Matchup with No. 1 Alabama

Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday, looking back at the win over Southern Illinois and previewing Saturday’s home game against No. 1 Alabama (6 pm CT, ESPN). The full transcript can be found below.
 
Opening statement…
“Happy to be 2-0, I was excited about this opportunity to go back and look at the tape. I was very impressed with our offensive efficiency. Jordan Ta’amu played really well, receivers made some big plays when they had to, and I was really pleased with that. Looking at the defensive side of the ball, it was a tale of two halves. Same calls against the same plays, we executed in the second half, first half we didn’t. That comes back to me having the guys ready to play right from the start. We have 12 opportunities, and we have to do a better job of taking advantage. From a schematic standpoint, it was more just about execution and going out and playing the game. The same people that were running wide open in the first half were the same plays that we were intercepting in the second half. We just need to play faster with more of a sense of urgency. It wasn’t anything schematic, more just focus going out and playing the game that should be played. We have to move on pretty quickly with the number one football team in the country coming to Oxford. We are excited about the challenge and excited to have a big game. The Grove will be rocking and will be a great atmosphere.”
 
Injury update…
DaMarkus Lodge and Tariqious Tisdale are still in concussion protocol. I think DaMarkus is just coming out of it, so he’ll be probable. Kevontae’ Ruggsis also probable. Detric Bing-Dukes and Jacquez Jones were a little banged up, but I think they’ll play.”
 
On timeline for Tisdale’s injury…
“Whenever you’re in the protocol you have to take a test, then go a full day of non-contact. It’s day to day, and I’ll know a lot more Wednesday.”
 
On getting guys ready mentally…
“You work all year for 12 opportunities. They’re all precious, and you have to treat them all the same, so often it’s very hard to just get them to focus and be in the now. That’s my job as head coach is to have them ready to go and take advantage of each opportunity.”
 
On receivers’ play in the absence of DaMarkus Lodge
“That’s the fun part is to see the work ethic really paying off and see Braylon (Sanders) take advantage of opportunities, not only in the last game but the first game he started to be consistent and show up making the tough catches. It was fun to see Elijah Moore get his first touchdown, and a guy like Alex Weber who has worked hard and been here a long time being the number one play on SportsCenter on his first ever catch. It’s fun to see all their work ethic because it’s not just talent those guys work really hard and they push each other to be better and it’s good to see, obviously A.J. (Brown), D.K. (Metcalf), and Lodge get all the publicity, but some of the other getting some that’s really good.”
 
On recruiting standpoint for the Alabama game…
“It’s important, we’ll obviously have a lot of prospects here, and it’s a good opportunity for them to see Oxford at its best. Night game in The Grove, stadium packed, it’ll be a great atmosphere of college football and for recruits.”
 
On kickoff return rotation against SIU…
“We wanted to give Tylan (Knight) some opportunities because we knew Elijah (Moore) was going to be punt returner. We wanted to give them equal opportunities to make plays.”
 
On past games against Alabama…
“I’ve given that a lot of thought, but none of those have any bearing. Different players, different teams, we have to focus on this year with the guys in our room playing against that team. I don’t think any of the previous years matter. It’s all about this year.”
 
On which young players impressed him last week…
“Certainly, as you get deeper into the season, your depth becomes more important as guys start to get banged up. Keidron Smith, he had a really good fall camp and you saw him come along, so it was good for him to go make a play. Elijah MooreTylan Knight. Tylan really played well on special teams—kickoff coverage—he did some really good things. So, it’s good to see some of these freshmen make some plays.”
 
On what impresses him about Alabama…
“Just both sides, good players everywhere. Their ability to put good player after good player out there consistently. It’s impressive. They have good players, and they’re well-coached. Impressive on both sides of the ball. Offense, defensive lines are always really good. Really good skill players. It’s just impressive the consistency they show year after year.”
 
On the energy around the building getting ready for Alabama…
“Anytime you have the number one team in the country and the opportunity, again, the focus is we get 12 games and we have to take advantage of each and every one. But any time you have a night game in Vaught-Hemingway against the number one team in the country, I think there is a little extra juice.”
 
On Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa…
“The ability for a young quarterback and the decision making, they ask him to do some RPO stuff where he has to make some decisions. He’s got a really quick release. He has very good receivers to throw it to. Then his ability to extend plays. You watch their first touchdown against Louisville, he extended the play and made a play with his feet. He keeps drives going on third down by scrambling out of the pocket. His ability to extend plays, and obviously his decision making, has been good.”
 
On addressing focus with players…
“Just preparation and the way you approach your work week and approach your business and just keeping your focus throughout that. That’s up to me to set that and to go on the practice field on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and go out there and make it happen. And just to see the big picture. Sometimes you can look past, but you have to be focused on the here and now and the task at hand. In football, it’s tough to win every game, and they’re all very important. They all count the same. So, you just have to take advantage of each opportunity you have.” The Local Voice Ligature

WATCH: Matt Luke Press Conference | WATCH: Wesley McGriff Press Conference | WATCH: Phil Longo Press Conference

Rebel Wide Receiver A.J. Brown Named to Watch List for Prestigious Maxwell Award

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.



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