Luke Updates Injuries as Rebels Prepare For Auburn
Oct. 4, 2017

By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com 

Matt Luke is pleased with the mental state of his team heading into a road test at Auburn. He knows this group has endured a lot together and didn’t doubt whether they’d bounce back from the loss to Alabama.

“I just think it is important and is why we harp so much on mental toughness. Don’t let one bad thing snowball. We can’t let one bad play affect the whole game,” Luke said. “When you play SEC games on the road, other teams are going to make plays, you just have to battle back and make more than they do. Just keep doing the right thing over and over again and the ball is going to bounce your way.”

Ole Miss came out of the Alabama relatively healthy, but are still nursing a few minor injuries. Center Sean Rawlings did not practice on Wednesday and is still resting a sprained ankle he suffered at Cal. Luke is confident he will be able to play. Keep in mind Rawlings didn’t practice much last week either, but was able to play in the game. Jordan Sims will get snaps at center in some capacity on Saturday.

“It affected him some,” Luke said. “You can’t not practice and be the same. He is a warrior and he battled in there and did a good job. I think Jordan will have to play some to take it off of him where he is not playing 70 snaps.”

Kicker Gary Wunderlich did not practice on Wednesday either and is nursing a sore hamstring. He and defensive end Qaadir Sheppard will both be game time decisions on Saturday.


 

 

The team will need all hands on deck as it attempts to combat an Auburn team playing good football. The Tigers trounced Mississippi State last week and have a defense that is letting up just 11 points per game. The backbone of the defense is a fierce pass rush that gets up the field quickly into opposing backfields, making Rawlings’ participation even more essential.”

“When you have a defensive line like that you don’t have to cover very long, so it helps their cover guys,” Luke said. “Their defensive line is very impressive in the run and pass. They penetrate a little differently than Alabama. Alabama is more holding their gap and Auburn is more attacking and getting up field, creating problems in the backfield.”

Luke and his staff have a bit of an in-house advantage with defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff, who coached the defensive backs at Auburn last year.

“It helps,” Luke said. “We are very similar on defense. Where it helps the most is getting good-on-good looks.”

Ole Miss will have to with a rushing attack that is averaging 208 yards per game. That rushing attack has set the table for quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who has completed 72 percent of his passes at nearly nine yards per throw.

“I think that is why their pass game is so good is because everyone is coming up to stop the run, and when you do that it makes you efficient in the passing game,” Luke said. “I think that has why they have scored so many points in the last two games. I think he is getting more of a comfort level in what they are trying to get accomplished. I think it is a huge challenge.”

Kickoff Saturday is slated for 11 a.m.

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