Matt Luke previews Arkansas

Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the team's win over ULM, while also looking ahead to this week's road contests against Arkansas in Little Rock (6:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network).

Posted: Oct 8, 2018 7:59 PM

OXFORD, Miss. (Ole Miss Athletics/WTVA) - Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the team's win over ULM, while also looking ahead to this week's road contests against Arkansas in Little Rock (6:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network). The full transcript can be found below.

Opening Statement…
"It was good to get a good team win. I was happy with a lot of things, especially offensively. I felt like we were really efficient in what we did—a lot of good decisions. You can tell with not many incompletions, making good decisions, getting the ball in the right spots. Defensively, I thought it was good to give some guys some reps and get the depth going. It was good to get Armani Linton and Tylan Knight over there given the injury situation, so I thought that was good. Having some tackles for loss and getting some turnovers, I thought that was good."

Injury Report…
"The injury situation, C.J. Miller and Myles Hartsfield rolled their ankles. I think C.J. may be a little bit worse off than Miles. Miles came back, C.J. did not. They will try and go this week, but we will know more as the week goes on, so they will be day-to-day. Hoping to get Victor Evans back, he did not play last week. I'm hoping to get Victor back to give us some depth there."

On this week's meeting with Arkansas…
"Moving on to Arkansas, a big road game for us. Watching the tape, first thing that jumped out to me was their defensive line. They're very good up front, have a good front seven. Offensively, they did a lot of shifts and motions. I was really impressed with them last week. I think you see them getting better and better, but definitely a good and capable football team. We will have to play well to win."

On Matt Corral…
"I was very pleased with him. He showed the ability to hand the ball off, to make the throws in the RPO (run, pass, option) game, having to make those decisions and, obviously, the ability to pull it and run it and make a big play. I think he brings something a little bit different to the table, just a little bit different personality, but was happy to get him some quality reps and get it with the first team offensive line and the first team receivers. I thought that was important."

On taking the next step after making transitions on defense…
"Well I think they were in there, especially Tylan (Knight), on with a limited package. So, you'd like to see their package be able to grow and not be having to call certain things just because they're in there. Armani (Linton) has a pretty good feel for the defense just getting back there and getting comfortable again, and obviously Tylan getting one week better so he can grow his package."

On Arkansas' offensive development…
"I think they are trying to settle in. They have settled in on their quarterback, using Ty Storey as their starter and having a package for Cole Kelley. I think they have kind of settled in with that. They did a really good job with shifts and motions last week. I think they did an outstanding job with shifts and motions, keeping Alabama off balance and keeping their tight ends involved. They did a good job with some screens to slow the pass rush down and things like that, so I think they are settling in to who they are, but I think they did an outstanding job last week."

On the challenge of an SEC road game…
"It's always a huge challenge to go on the road and play. You have to deal with the crowd noise and things like that. Any time that you're in this conference and you go on the road, you have to have that mental toughness enough to be able to block out the distractions and do your job over and over again regardless of the circumstance. I think we saw some more of that this past week. I just want to build on that and take it on the road, and be able to just lock in and focus and be able to do our job for four quarters."

On the strange nature of the Ole Miss-Arkansas series recently…
"It has been some different games. I think we've got to focus on this team and this year, but it has been kind of a different series. They've come out ahead the last few times but it'll be important for us this year to go play good football, to not turn the ball over, to do the little things it takes to win those games. Even though those games are quirky, it still comes down to two or three plays either way. You've got to make sure you handle your business so those plays go your way."

On Jordan Ta'amu's involvement in the run game…
"A little bit of that was him getting back to being healthy and running him a little bit more. I thought that there are opportunities for him to run the football, it was just that they presented themselves a little bit more last week."

On the development of the linebackers…
"We're playing some young guys, some true freshmen, and they are getting better. Mohamed Sanogo probably played his best game fit-wise last week, so I do think the young guys are getting better. There still is a lot of improvement to make, but I do see them getting better in not only the run game but also eye discipline. There's a couple things that happened, when there's a screen in the backfield, a linebacker shows up to make the play. There are some things happening that shows progress, but still have to keep coming."

On Sanogo's consistency and leadership at linebacker…
"Just a combination of having the experience now and being able to get people lined up and making calls, talking to the defensive line based on the formation he sees, he's done a really good job with that. It's hard in this league, you can't just play the same guys over and over. You have to create some depth so guys don't have to stay on the field as long, and that's where we've got to get better. The best teacher is experience. The more he plays, the better he'll continue to get."

On the defensive line's progress through six games…
"They played really well in the first game, not so good against Southern Illinois, but they've bounced back. The last two or three weeks, they played really well as far as getting penetration. You saw Kent State, then even against LSU, getting penetration in the backfield, then again last week. I think they are improving, they are penetrating, they are developing an identity. Moving forward, they have a chance to be the strength on our defense. They just have to keep coming and making plays."

On the mood in the building after a win vs. a loss…
"There's no comparison to the feeling in the building after a win and after a loss. It's a different feeling. The guys were frustrated after the LSU game. I thought they had a good week of practice. It has to just continue to get one week better. The teams that win in October and November are the ones that keep on improving, so that's important that we do that."

On putting up big offensive numbers vs. an SEC team…
"No matter what defense you play against, you want to go out there and put up big numbers against whoever you're playing. It doesn't matter what the game is or who you're playing, you want to go out there and live up to your standard. It's not so much about who you're playing, it's about wanting to play as good as you can possibly play. If we take that approach, we'll be better off."

On using a variety of blitz packages vs. ULM…
"We didn't want that quarterback to sit back and get comfortable because he's a running quarterback. If you play coverage, he can pull the ball down and run. So, we were trying to keep him off balance and not let him hurt us with his feet. He broke out a couple of times, but for the most part it was good because we were able to get pressure on him and make him get the ball out of his hands. He was their leading rusher and also could make some things happen. If you play zone, he could scramble, so that's why there was so much pressure."

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