Luke previews Ole Miss-Texas A&M game

The Rebels visit the Aggies on Saturday.

Posted: Nov 5, 2018 6:10 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the South Carolina game and look ahead to the Rebels hitting the road to face Texas A&M (11 a.m. CT). The full transcript can be found below.

Opening statement…
"We spent a lot of time yesterday looking at the tape. It was a disappointing loss. I felt the reason it was really disappointing, the players in the locker room, you could tell, they left it all out there. They played with the energy, the passion, and the toughness it takes to win in this league. We had to watch the tape and say, 'hey look, the attention to detail is what's going to get us over the hump.' If you leave your heart out there and you play that way, you're going to win a bunch of football games, but the attention to detail is what it takes to get you over that hump. You can look at a thousand different plays from that game, the explosive plays, the turnovers in the red zone, that's the attention to detail we have to focus on, the little things it takes to win. The line, it's very small in the Southeastern Conference for winning and losing football games. But, if they continue to play that way, we will get over the hump. I was pleased with the effort. I thought the offensive line played their best game by far. They played very physical. Scottie ran very hard. I liked our red zone plan, we did a lot of things there, I thought Coach Longo did a nice job there. Defensively, we stopped the run. I think we were right at 60 or 70 yards when they broke the big one. They did a nice job up of stopping the run. They broke their neck on the 4th and 1. There are some things to pull from, it's just the explosive plays we have to eliminate if you want to win big games in the Southeastern Conference."

Injury update…
"It was a very physical game on both sides of the ball with injuries, but there wasn't anything major for us. A lot of bumps and bruises. Ta'amu's foot is hurt, he'll be limited in practice a little bit, but he'll be fine to play. Braylon Sanders, with his ankle, will also be limited and will probably be a game-time decision. Other than that, nothing major."

On the matchup with Texas A&M…
"Been there a couple times now, very tough place to play. From a crowd noise standpoint, we'll have to manage that. They're very physical on defense, very tough to run against, I believe they held Auburn to 19 yards rushing. We'll have to find a way to get the run game going where it's not all on Jordan (Ta'amu) and the receivers. We've got to find a way to run the football. Offensively they're very balanced. They do a great job of mixing personnel, mixing the run and the pass and their play action are very good. Jimbo (Fisher) has always been good with mixing those things up. They're good at time of possession too also, so keeping the ball away from our offense. It will be a very tough challenge on the road, but one that we're excited about and looking forward to."

On the recruiting sanctions lifted…
"We had prepared this whole season for the bowl ban. We have 17 days left, that's the way we've been preparing. To get that victory on recruiting is huge. As a head coach, you're looking at the big picture and moving forward, and being able to recruit guys like Scottie Phillips and Matt Corral and all that moving forward. Now you're not recruiting with one hand behind your back anymore. Now you can go out and recruit. I think a lot of people see opportunities to come and help us. That really helps in recruiting. That's a huge victory. Now just to put everything behind us, it's over, all the recruiting restrictions are lifted. There are no more bowl bans. Let's move forward, attack this thing and see the big picture. I think our fans were pleased with that. I think the energy in the stadium on Saturday was a result of that. Let's put all this behind us and move forward."

On the mood and how this team will respond after Saturday's loss…
"That's how you're supposed to feel after a loss. It's supposed to hurt. When you go out there and leave it all on the field, it's supposed to hurt. This is a business where you're judged on winning and losing, and for us to go out there and win, the effort and the passion was there. Now it's the attention to detail that gets us over the hump. I think those guys understand that. They're not happy about losing, and they're hurting. If you want to win games in this league, the attention to detail has to be there. We can't give up explosive plays. We can't turn the ball over in the red zone. We've got to do the little things it takes to win in this league."

On success in SEC road games…
"I think we go out there, each game is separate, you attack it that way. We have had success on the road (over time), and I hope it continues this weekend."

On Elijah Moore's big day…
"He's a terrific player. He practices that way, and it showed up in the game. To get him and A.J. (Brown) on the field at the same time, we felt like that would be a good matchup for is. I don't know if they were 100 percent ready for it, with A.J. being on the outside the whole time. It provides different matchup problems for defenses. With Elijah playing the way he did and him being a true freshman, that gives us a lot of momentum going forward."

On attention to detail…
"On deep balls and the guy's right there, you've got to make a play. You have to make the tackle, you have to do the little things. Some of it is technique, it's not all on the players. Some of it is attention to detail. As a coach, you have to make sure they are giving everything they've got, doing everything they can and leaving it all on the field. That's No. 1. Then No. 2 is attention to detail, the little things it takes. You may be able to get away with that against an average team but in this league, you can't do that. You have to have the attention to detail. That's our job as coaches to get that done."

On Texas A&M's Kellen Mond and Trayveon Williams…
"You have to account for Kellen in the run game. He has the feet and he can hurt you when he pulls. They have some designed quarterback runs, so you have to account for him in the run game. They are very explosive in the run game, and I think that's where we'll have to start. We have a game plan for us to stop the run and then make them beat us throwing the football."

On Ta'amu's health status…
"If we need him, Matt's (Corral) the guy, but I think Jordan is going to be fine. We will limit him some this week just to get him healthy, but it's not an injury that we think that will keep him out of the game."

On the squib kick vs. South Carolina…
"Well if you knew you could kick it through the end zone every time, you would do that. Kicking it to the upback, kicking it to the big offensive lineman that was in there, I thought the plan was good. We've just got to tackle. Looking at it, those were two big plays in the game. The kickoff return and the one (kickoff) when we went up 10, those were two huge plays in the game. The scheme was sound, I thought we did an outstanding job of preparing, but we do have to go down there and make the tackle. The returns were results of missed tackles, not the scheme or the kick if that makes sense."

On South Carolina's pressure late in the game…
"It wasn't anything different. There was one when A.J. (Brown) slipped and fell down, and he scrambled out of the pocket, and coverage sacks, things they were doing. But the result was us not being productive on first down and being in 3rd-and-long, that was the biggest thing. Jordan obviously not being 100 percent probably played a little factor into it, but not being productive on first down was huge. Then the last drive, you're in a two-minute drive to win the game, you've got to figure out a way to go get that done. Everybody on our sideline and everybody in the stadium felt like we were going to take that ball and go down and score. I think that our offense felt the way I felt. They had a lot of confidence, and you could see it in their eyes—no different than the Arkansas game or last year at Kentucky they had the same look, and it just didn't happen. It wasn't our day. They made the plays to win it and we didn't."

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