Grove Bowl Postgame Quotes


 MATT LUKE - OLE MISS HEAD COACH
Opening statement:
"Overall I'm pleased. I think we got out of there with no major injuries. We got a lot of guys out going into this thing, we knew that. We had some tough conditions, and you might be in a game that way and have to learn from it. But overall, I thought it was good."

On his thoughts on spring overall:
"Good. A little bit with different guys being out so much, but again, a lot of players got better. I think that's what spring is for. It's for young guys and guys that are inexperienced to get in there and get a bunch of reps, and I thought that on both sides of the ball. On offense, I was really pleased with some of the young linemen. Ben Brown and Royce Newman I thought had a really good spring. They ran a bunch with the ones. (Tight end Octavious) Cooley got most improved, he had a good spring. A lot of running back room, I think he really improved there. I have been impressed with Matt Corral and how far he came. We had a lot of injuries and stuff that didn't show today but really impressed with how he's come along too. I'm excited with his progress. Then on defense, I was impressed with how they fit the run and pleased with how they played with a lot of energy today. Overall, I feel good about the spring."

On his satisfaction with the run defense throughout the spring:
"It was back-and-forth, and the offense was able to run the ball in the spring, but what I saw was progress. That's what you have to continue to do. We got a whole off-season and summer and then another fall camp to build on it, but I did really see a lot of progress. I'm really pleased with (defensive coordinator Wesley) Coach McGrath and (linebackers coach Jon) Coach Sumrall, who I thought did a fantastic job with the linebackers, with some of those being Josh Clarke and Zikerrion Baker."

On his evaluation of Jordan Ta'amu's Performance and what he needs to work on in the offeseason:
"I thought he was good. I thought given the wet conditions he threw the ball well. When he was in there they were pretty successful and they went on a 20-play, 99-yard drive. That's good to see in the spring, to go on a long drive like that. I'm just impressed with him. I just want to continue to work on getting with the receivers and just getting it down to cohesion with the receivers and just continue to build on being the leader of the team. That's what you see. Everybody is rallying around Jordan, so I just want him to continue to be that leader, and I thought he did a great job with that in the spring."

On his satisfaction with the running backs following departure of Jordan Wilkins
"I was concerned about that, but was pleased throughout the spring with the running backs. I've been very pleased with the production of that group."

 PHIL LONGO - OLE MISS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
On how the offense progressed this spring:
"The spring was a lot different than the spring last year because of the knowledge base. We talked about that all spring. We had 37 players coming back who actually know all the terminology, technique and fundamentals. You're able to turn around the guys you don't know, the younger ones. The progress we made this spring obviously is much better than it was last spring. I think it happened faster this year, too. The expectations right now, we're happy with the fifteen practices with spring ball. Our expectations started off wanting that same energy against Texas Tech the way we finished at Mississippi State."

On if he feels better about the running backs now as opposed to the beginning of spring:
"No doubt, and for two reasons. One we didn't see coming, we had a number of receivers, none seriously hurt, but out for various reasons. So we went into practices with more of a focus on the run game than we initially planned. We have a stable of running backs right now, and two of them are brand new."

On Alex Givens fitting in with the offense upon his return:
"Well, Alex Givens fit well last year. He was our everything guy. He was that valuable sixth man off the bench. This year, I think Alex is going to be an every down starter. He will be an every down guy for us."

On the percentage of the playbook deployed today:
"We were happy with some, not with others. I think the twos really struggled today. We have some young guys and walk-ons against experienced players, so that was a little more of a learning curve with the twos. So that may be a little more similar to what we saw last spring. All in all it was good to get some young guys reps because at some point this season we're going to need some of them to win a football game."

 WESLEY MCGRIFF - OLE MISS ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH/DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
On how the defense has progressed this spring:
"Going into spring ball we had several goals, but the biggest goal you want to have is limiting explosive plays practically in the running game and secondly to prevent the deep ball. Just stopping it is not good enough, we must take it away. I think the guys did a tremendous job of taking ownership of severing their gaps and doing their job to prevent big plays in the running game."

On what is helping the progression of the defense:
"One of the biggest things we were able to do in spring ball was letting them slow it down in walk-through mode and teaching mode. You try to get so many reps in and you try to get quality reps in, but you have to realize players are different. Some guys can go from the meeting room to the field and execute a play, some need to go more in the meeting room and walk-through. I think we did a better job as a staff on walking through the players on the field and meeting with them and teaching them. Instead of running 80 snaps, let's run 50 quality snaps."

 C.J. MOORE - OLE MISS DEFENSIVE BACK
On what it means to wear No. 38:
"It means a lot. Since I was a freshman I watched the older guys selected to carry out the legacy. For the coaches to have selected me, I think that's a big deal. I'm ready to take on the responsibility."

On how the spring game went:
"It was pretty good. I missed one tackle ... I need to work on some fundamentals and get ready to come back."

On how the defense improved this spring:
"This whole spring we have made some strides. We're young but we have guys stepping up ready to play. We are going to be tough."

On his responsibility as a leader:
"I know a lot of the younger guys may look up to me and look for me to make the play. That is my role on the team."

On the major point of emphasis this spring:
"Paying attention to detail and looking at new formations, and making sure everyone knows their assignments and base calls."

 JORDAN TA'AMU - OLE MISS QUARTERBACK
On how he's progressed this spring:
"I felt like our offense as a whole progressed throughout the whole spring, and it showed out there in the spring game."

On the progression of the running backs:
"Our running backs are tremendous, all of them. They love to compete and they're hard runners. I felt like they did good out there and this whole spring they've shown that they can play."

 D.K. METCALF - OLE MISS WIDE RECEIVER
On his performance today:
"I think I did pretty good. As always, there's room for improvement. Any time I finish anything I'm going to be a big critic of myself."
 

 

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