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Luke, Rebels reach first bye week of season

Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the matchup against Texas A&M, while also discussing the Rebels' game plan for the bye week.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 8:31 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the matchup against Texas A&M, while also discussing the Rebels' game plan for the bye week. The full transcript can be found below.

Opening statement…
"Going back and reviewing the tape (from Saturday's game versus Texas A&M), that was a tough one. You look at it, and it's what you thought being at the game. It's the one or two plays here or there, that's what makes it so tough. We're close, and we're coming. There was a time walking through The Grove and in the middle of that third quarter where you could see the vision come to life and you could feel it turning. We're really close, and we're going to find out a way to get these kids over the hump. We'll be focusing on attention to detail, getting these young kids to find a way to push through to win those games. We're going to focus on Auburn and go recruiting, keep stacking those good classes on top of each other and build this thing and get it to where we want it to be. I'm very disappointed and sick to my stomach that we didn't win the game. I felt like we had our opportunities to, but I'm also encouraged to know that we're right there and we're very close."

Injury update…
"Jerrion Ealy is in the concussion protocol. We expect him to play against Auburn just based on when he gets out and his availability to practice this week. John Rhys Plumlee is going to have a minor procedure done on his knee. He won't practice this week, but we expect him to be available depending on how much we get him to practice next week. Alex Givens has a minor knee injury and he is probable. We'll rest him this week. Scottie Phillips also went down with a knee injury. He had an MRI which was negative so he's also probable, just normal wear and tear. Michael Howard had his shoulder come out, but he came back in and finished the game, so we'll have to manage that but he should play. Ben Brown hurt his ankle, left the game and did not return. We'll rest him, and he'll also be probable. Eli Johnson had a pretty significant turf toe along with an ankle injury. He was able to come back and finish the game, but we'll have to rest him. He'll also be probable. Elijah Moore had a minor groin injury, and he'll be probable. Braylon Sanders is day-to-day with his hamstring. Several injuries but the open date does come at a good time, so we'll get these guys rested and ready to go against Auburn.

On the practice schedule this week…
"Being able to focus on some technique things and being able to get ahead on Auburn, and some of their looks will really help us. We can do some things, not physically, but mentally get those reps in."

On winning the 1-on-1 balls down the field…
"Whenever you're taking a receiver, being able to win a 1-on-1 is huge. We will win some of those, again the little attention to detail, some cases it was going up and making the catch, sometimes a little better throw. The opportunities are there we just have to go make them, and I think that we will going forward."

On working on attention to detail in practice…
"You stay the course. You keep getting better and keep harping on it, and eventually the breaks start going your way. Eventually, you start getting the bounces. You just keep your head down and go to work. Some of these kids are inexperienced and they're freshman. You just keep staying the course. I think people always see the end results of these seniors. They weren't always seniors. These guys grow, and they learn and they get experience. The good thing is, even with all the inexperience, we're very close. If you keep harping on the same thing and the little things, eventually you will get over the hump."

On Bryce Matthews…
"He has an ongoing back issue similar to Alex Givens. He's been having epidural shots, and he's in the process of one of those so we'll see how that goes. If it works, he'll move towards being available. If it doesn't, it may be moving towards surgery."

On Vernon Dasher…
"He took some personal time to deal with some things, but he is still on the roster."

On attention to detail…
"I think just continuing to stay the course and push through. I think we are moving in the right direction, and we are putting ourselves in position. It's just the one or two plays here and there that change a game. Obviously, when you're close, those plays become bigger. But again, as we continue to move forward and stack these recruiting classes on top of each other, hopefully those plays become less and less of a factor. You start pulling away, and the games don't come down to one or two plays. I think as you continue to build and get better, those things will start to happen."

On the freshmen offensive linemen…
"I think they will have to practice some this week, which will be good for them for the future, but I do anticipate most of the guys with minor injuries being back. So, I think for practice purposes absolutely they will, and that will be good for them to get some of that experience, but I do anticipate these guys being back for Auburn."

On the use of the two-quarterback system…
"I think that is what the open date is for – for us to evaluate and figure out what is the best way for us to win. Obviously, we spend a lot of time to prepare and put ourselves in the best situation, and when things don't go the way you want them to, it makes you look at them even more. I felt really comfortable with it at Missouri. It felt like everything was clicking, and we just missed some throws. We have to go back and look at it. Was it technique? Was it them coming in and out? What exactly was it? And then try and go fix it. And obviously, with John Rhys (Plumlee) out this week in practice, Matt (Corral) will get all of the QB one reps."

On the difficulty for Matt Corral establishing a rhythm coming off of the bench…
"You would assume that a quarterback wants to get into that rhythm, but he has embraced the challenge. He came in and one of the first ones he hit Scottie (Phillips) and we ended up scoring. Again, I think it can be done. And if you can do it effectively, it certainly makes it tougher on the defense."

On finalizing the 2020 recruiting class…
"Tyler Siskey (associate AD for player personnel), they do a really great job. They had a seven-game breakdown on all of our commitments, so we were able to go back and watch every one of those guys that we had committed. It just gets you even more excited about what's coming, but we do have some needs at DB, so we have a couple of spots left there. We have one at tight end, and we have some on the defensive line. We'll all go out spending a lot of time on recruiting Thursday and Friday this week."

On what dictates where the ball goes in the passing game…
"Different routes call for different things, but you usually have one high-beater built in with two high-beaters on the other side. Based on what they play, if they have guys in the middle of the field and they are in one-high coverage, that dictates that you throw the ball outside. A lot of the routes are built in based on the coverage, and the RPOs (run-pass options) are certainly that way based on the defensive plays and what they give you. There are some certain routes that are double moves or trick plays that are designed to go to one person, but a lot of the time the coverage does dictate it."

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