Luke previews South Carolina game

Ole Miss hosts South Carolina on Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 5:54 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Coming off the bye week, Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to discuss the Rebels hosting South Carolina this Saturday (11 a.m. CT, SEC Network). The full transcript can be found below.

Opening Statement
"I think the bye week came at a perfect time to give us a chance to really focus on some things that we need to get better at. It also gave us a chance to get healthy. I think we will get C.J. Miller and Austrian Robinson back. They both practiced, so I think it was a good week. We were able to rest Dawson Knox and Ken Webster, so a really good week for self-evaluation, and now we get the final stretch run. They remember what you do in November. We're excited about playing four games in 19 days, and we get the first one right back here at home. It will be huge for us to have a big crowd for an SEC game, so I am excited about it and looking forward to the challenge. We're 5-3 after eight games with four left, so I'm fired up about the stretch run, and I know our crowd will show up at 11:00 a.m. against a big SEC opponent. I have a lot of respect for coach Will Muschamp for what he has done at South Carolina. They're fast and physical on defense. I've been impressed with the way they run the ball on offense. They're physical on both sides of the ball, but I'm excited about the challenge."

On his message to the fans ahead of Saturday…
"Just to come get behind the guys. Coming through all of this NCAA stuff, you're still 5-3 with a chance to win a bunch of games. The four teams that we are playing all have the same record or worse, so we're right there. We've just got to find a way to get over that hump and get that energy in the stadium. We've got great fans and the atmosphere in The Grove. It's important for our players, and it's also important for recruits to have the energy in that stadium and to see what it can be, I think that will be really good. I thought the energy was good for Auburn, and I think it'll be the same way for South Carolina."

On the red zone offense…
"When you look around the country, when you get into the red zone, it's hard to score. Everyone says they have red zone problems when they don't win the game, so I think just getting the one-on-one matchup. Finding DaMarkus Lodge, A.J. Brown, pounding them with Scottie Phillips or running the quarterback, there's a bunch of different things you can do down there, but the bottom line is execution and being able to make plays. There's a lot of focus on it and making sure we've got the right plays called, and you've got to execute."

On C.J. Miller's return…
"Ty Rocconi could get in for an emergency. He's a physical kid. He knows all of the checks and getting everybody lined up, so you could see him in an emergency, but having C.J. back gives you a little bit more flexibility with Myles Hartsfield to be able to play some safety where Armani Linton doesn't have to play as many reps back there."

On South Carolina's passing game…
"They are a little bit more up-tempo this year. Having Coach (Dan) Werner over there, they are doing a little bit more tempo and things like that. They're best at being able to run the football and play action, so I think that's the key to them. We're going to have to do a good job at stopping the run. They have really done a nice job the last few weeks at being able to run the football, so I think that'll be key for us."

On Victor Evans' status…
"He's got a chronic knee, so he is just limited but he is definitely going to play. It is just how much he can get out there on his knee and practice. He will be able to play about 15 to 20 snaps."

On if South Carolina QB coach Dan Werner has an advantage being a former Ole Miss coach…
"Being two years removed, I am not sure (if it's an advantage). He will know some of the older guys, maybe some of the offensive linemen, as far as that's connected. I don't know, two years removed, if that'll be an advantage."

On if he's thinking about the NCAA appeal…
"No. For us, we've got 24 days left in our season. That's the way we are preparing. Our motivation is playing for each other and building this program. Taking pride that in the fact, through all of this stuff, you're supposed to be not very good, and last year we won six games. Same thing this year, you're 5-3 after eight games, so just taking the pride and saying we're still here and we're not going anywhere. I think that having that pride and the guys playing for each other and fighting through adversity, to me that's very special – a lot of pride in the program, a lot of pride in our guys playing for each other."

On Kevontae' Ruggs…
"Obviously, he does some really good things, but he's still a true freshman. He'll continue to get better and better. You want him to be out there and play 15-20 snaps and not have to play 60 snaps. That'll be key. Willie Hibbler and Mohamed Sanogo are really improving. I like where they are going. They are getting better. Ruggs does run around and hit, but he has to get lined up and do the little things it takes for a freshman."

On recruiting after the NCAA appeal goes through…
"We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. There will be some visit limitations, but through this season and in 2019, there are very little limitations. For the 2020 class, we'll have to have a plan for when they can come visit."

On the bye week…
"I think it came at a great time. You're playing eight games, you're beat up and banged up. It gives you a chance to rest a little bit, get a little bit of a head start on South Carolina, do some self-evaluation—what's been good through eight games, what hasn't been good. It came at a really good time. Now, we just have to make this final push for this last month."

On the offensive line…
"There is a very fine line between being good and not being good in this league. Those guys have a lot of pride. It's not that they played terrible against Auburn, but when you play against a defensive line like that, you have to play great. I expect a lot of those guys. We were able to move the football. We got a bunch of yards against Auburn. It wasn't all bad, but we do have high expectations for that unit, and they will step up."

On the wide receiver situation with D.K. Metcalf out…
"Given the open date, we've looked at a couple of different things—moving A.J. Brown outside some, putting Elijah Moore inside some, maybe a few more two tight end sets with Dawson Knox and Octavious Cooley on the field at the same time. There are a lot of different areas we can come in, we just have to figure out what our best is. What you don't want to do is have all of your receivers play 75 snaps and not be at their best at the end of the game. Finding the best ways to rest guys will be key for us."

On what A.J. Brown provides on the outside…
"Just a big, physical guy, a tough matchup on a smaller corner because he's so big and strong. And then Elijah has done really well, and Braylon Sanders is plenty capable too. We have some options, we just have to figure out the best combinations moving into this week."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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