Luke Talks Weekend Scrimmage, Pleased With Progress

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Ole Miss is now nearing the culmination of spring football with the Grove Bowl being just over a week away, and the Rebels dabbled into some live football action this past weekend with a controlled scrimmage in which the coaches stayed on the sideline and the offense and defense squared off against each other. Matt Luke wanted to see where his team stood more than two weeks into spring ball.

"We did some situational stuff with some red zone, third down and stuff but really we just put the ball down and played to see where we were," Luke said. "There were a lot of positives and also a lot of stuff we need to get cleaned up. We slowed down today and really honed in on some stuff. The tempo, going fast, we wanted to slow down today. Try to teach some stuff and get guys' fits right and getting them chasing the ball."

The offense dominated early during the red zone portion of the scrimmage. Phil Longo's squad gassed the defense with an up-tempo pace. The defense weathered the storm and made a couple of plays on the later drives. Luke is beginning to understand that, as a head coach, he is going to be concerned with one side of the football no matter what, but he was pleased to see both sides go at one another.

"I think the offense started out really strong in the scrimmage early on in the red zone. In the third down period they were really good," Luke said. "I was happy to see the defense fight back and get some turnovers in later drives. I am learning quickly as head coach you are not going to be happy in spring ball. You are going to be upset one way or another. I did like the ebb and flow of practice. It was good to see the defense fight back."

Ole Miss has some veteran starters sidelined for spring ball as a precaution towards some nagging injuries. None of the bumps and bruises will affect the team heading into the fall but nonetheless has kept some guys off the field this spring. It's forged an opportunity for some younger players to get experience as this team tries to add depth, particularly on the defensive side of the football.

Defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff said last weekend he would like to see his defense play with more confidence. Luke thinks this is part of the learning process as these young players get used to the speed of the game.

"The little things are lacking because they are thinking and still trying to process what they are doing," Luke said. "They don't see the formation or the intricacies. They know what to do they just don't understand yet. You are trying to get them to understand so they can play instinctively and aren't out there thinking."

Luke thinks it will eventually click as the cerebral part of the game turns into instances and allows them to play freer and faster.

"I think it is mainly the younger guys," Luke said. "We have a lot young guys out there with three defensive linemen out. The young linebackers are showing flashes and the only way you get those guys ready is to put them out there in the fire. That is kind of the growing pains but you have to put them out there to learn."

Ole Miss has dealt with a couple more injuries this week as A.J. Brown tweaked a knee trying to get into the end zone in the scrimmage. Luke doesn't think it is serious but is not taking any chances as Brown has been limited early on this week.

"I like the competitiveness. That is why he is who he is. He was trying to score. You like to see that," Luke said.

Greg Little is dealign with a tight back and is limited also.

Overall, Luke knows this team has a long way to go as do most teams in the spring, but he is pleased with the progress as this team wraps up the spring.

"I think there are some signs that we are," Luke said. "The kids are pushing one another and there is a sense of togetherness, not so much offense and defense. That is what we are trying to get accomplished."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

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    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

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    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

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    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

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