Luke Updates Injuries as Rebels Head to Alabama
Sept. 27, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee, 

Matt Luke addressed the media for the final time before his team departs for Tuscaloosa to take on the nation's top-ranked team. He addressed some injuries and talked about preparing for the Crimson Tide.

Sean Rawlings did not practice on Wednesday. The junior center dressed out and did some work on the side as he nurses a severe ankle sprain. The team is still holding out hope he can play in some capacity on Saturday.

"He did do some snaps and some stuff versus bags," Luke said. "He was fully dressed out and was out there, but he did not do anything live against the defense and probably will not be able to until Saturday. He’s played enough to where I feel confident to where he could do it without that many reps. He is out there snapping and getting mental reps."

Rawlings will test it in warm ups to see if he is able to plant, push and stabilize himself on it enough on it to be effective.

"Just if he can push off of it. If he is out there hobbling around and he can’t push off on it then we probably won’t play him," Luke said. "If he is about 75-80 percent then he will probably play if needed. If he is out there and looks great, then he will probably play more than that.”

The back up plan is to use junior guard Jordan Sims at center if Rawlings is unavailable. Sims actually from the Birmingham area and will be playing close to home. 

Wide receiver A.J. Brown and defensive end Victor Evans both practiced this week and Luke believes they will play. Kicker Gary Wunderlich kicked in a limited capacity on Tuesday and will try to give it a go this weekend. Kickoff specialist Luke Logan would kick if Wunderlich could not participate. 



One thing the team has emphasized this week was crowd noise. Luke has had noise blared over the speakers at practice in an effort to get his team ready for a hostile environment with over 90,000 people in the seats. Luke thought the noise bothered his team a little bit at Cal and wants to make sure it is not an issue this weekend.

"I thought that bothered us a little more than anticipated going to Cal so we worked really hard on the crowd noise and just communication," Luke said. "I think that has helped us."

Ole Miss has had a bye week to rest and get prepared for inarguably its toughest test on the schedule. Marquis Haynes has seen the defense progress and feels they are better as a unit.

"I think we have taken a lot of steps forward," Haynes said. "We went through our mistakes we made yesterday and corrected them today. The defense is movoing forward really well."

Haynes has been on two teams that have beaten Alabama and can draw from experience on what it requires.

"As long as we play fast and physical, that is all we can say," Haynes said. "Alabama does have a good offensive scheme running and passing the ball. We just have to be up for the challenge mentally and physically."

Haynes is a guy defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff has had the luxury of moving around to different spots on the field to maximize his effectiveness.

"See what production he can get from me" Haynes said. "The first three games you had offensive lines sliding to me for max protection, so he is trying to move me around to try to create something out of it."

Kickoff Saturday is set for 8 p.m.




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