Matt Luke Weekly Press Conference
Nov. 20, 2017

Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the home finale with Texas A&M, and preview Thursday night’s Egg Bowl battle at Mississippi State (6:30 p.m., ESPN).


Opening Statement…
“Egg Bowl week. It’s a huge week for us with a big rivalry game on the road and we’re looking forward to the challenge. It’s a tough turnaround coming off of Saturday and getting ready for a Thursday game. That obviously presents some challenges, but having a rivalry game to get ready for helps your focus. We’re looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to the opportunity.”

On the rivalry…
“It’s always been a big game for as long as I can remember. To the people of the state of Mississippi, this is bragging rights. It’s a huge game, and it is every year, no matter the situation.”

On his personal connection to the Egg Bowl rivalry…
“I’m 41 so this is really Egg Bowl 41 for me. I remember my brother (Tom), we played in Jackson. I remember being at that game and him running for a couple touchdowns. I think maybe it was the Clarion-Ledger the next day, the headline said, ‘The Gospel According to Luke.’ I just always thought that was really cool. It was a great memory for me. Then obviously playing and coaching in it, it is a great rivalry and it’s great for the whole state of Mississippi.”

On Mississippi State…
“They do a great job of running the football. That’s something we’ve struggled with, so we have our work cut out going there and stopping the run and forcing them to throw it. They’ve done a great job on defense. Coach (Todd) Grantham has done a phenomenal job. We have to do a good job of handling crowd noise, first and foremost. Then we have to keep our balance. We have to play fast and be able to run the football then take advantage of our matchups on the outside.”

On the second half vs. Texas A&M…
“We got behind the chains a bunch. Typically, we haven’t been very good when we’ve been behind the chains, and I don’t think any offense is. You can’t have penalties. You can’t have negative yardage plays. And obviously the turnover for a touchdown was the difference in the game. Then maybe a little bit the wind, effecting the ball down the field, I think that affected both offenses in the second half.”

On the defense’s strong play vs. Texas A&M...
“Watching the tape, we got off blocks better. We weren’t just in our gaps. We got off blocks and made plays. Our DBs pressed a little more and challenged the receivers a little more. I was happy to see that. We got a turnover and basically held them to three points in the second half. I was really pleased with the strides. Our challenge this week is to put our total game together. We’ve got one last game. We have four days together. Let’s go and play our best game collectively this week.”

On how the team’s emotions will play out in this game…
“This game is emotional for a lot of different reasons. But my job is to focus on these players and give them the best chance to win this game. I’ve said this before, I’ve been a part of teams that have had a better record, but I am really proud of what this team has been able to accomplish with all they’ve been through. We have one more opportunity to go play together. We’re going to enjoy these four days together and we’re going to enjoy Thursday night.”

Injury report…
“Alex Givens is going to be out. He’s in the concussion protocol, and because of the quick turnaround, there’s not going to be enough time to get him back. D’Vaughn Pennamon is probably going to have surgery in the next two to three weeks. It’s a pretty significant injury. He’ll be out for some significant time. Jordan Ta’amu is fine. He was hit in the throat, but he came back and he’s been fine. Defensively, Jalen Julius is still in concussion protocol. Markell Pack is going to be probable. I hope he’ll (Pack) do some stuff today and maybe practice tomorrow. With the injury to Van Jefferson, that’s big and will give us some depth in the slot. Van didn’t practice yesterday. I don’t want to rule him all the way out, but he’s questionable at best.”

On Braylon Sanders
“In the slot behind A.J. Brown, he’s the next guy up. So if A.J. runs a deep ball or gets winded, Braylon is going to go in there. I’m really proud of him. He’s one of the guys who was one of the pleasant surprises of fall camp. You saw that he has ability, and he has a bright future ahead of him. Any time you can get out there and get your feet wet and make plays in an SEC game, I think that bodes well for his future.”

On the importance of this game for A.J. Brown
“A.J. is not only one of our leaders and top players, he’s one of the top players in the country. He’ll be a focal point for us to get him the ball. I’m sure this will be a big game for him. It’s a big game for all of us and anyone from Mississippi, but especially for him. Coming back home, I’m sure it’ll be a big game and be emotional. But all his teammates will be behind him, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.”

On Deontay Anderson
“In all my dealings with him, Deontay is a great kid and we wish him the best. As far as all the transfer stuff, there’s a standard operating procedure that you have to go through compliance for all of that. They’ll handle all of that. But for me, he’s been great. He’s been on the scout team this year while taking his redshirt. He’s a good kid to be around.”

On this season for him personally…
“It’s been great. It’s been so different for me, because I was always so close to the offensive line and the offensive side of the ball. But for me to get to know the different kids on defense and to become close with the whole team and for this team to develop an identity, it’s been great and a great experience for me.”

On if the players take this rivalry personally…
“What the players are focused on is winning the football game. That’s what we have to focus on is winning the game. All the allegations and all of that stuff, none of it affects what happens on Thursday night. Our focus is going to be 100 percent on the game Thursday night and trying to go get a win.”

On if the coaches feel more pressure to win this game…
“If you’re a coach at Ole Miss, there’s always pressure to win this game no matter what. It’s always one of the biggest games of the season, and you have to treat it that way. And me being from Mississippi, I know that better than everybody.”

On dealing with the short week…
“The first thing you have to do is you have to recover from Saturday. It’s already a Wednesday in terms of the process going to the game. You can’t do as much in pads. You have to do a little more mental preparation. We have to do a little more toward the end of the week. The good thing for us is we don’t have school, so we can devote some more time watching tape and getting mentally ready for the game. But you have to take care of their bodies, because you want them to be fresh so we can compete.”

On players keeping their emotions in check…
“You want to play and compete between the whistles. You’re going to be on edge and the emotions will be high, but there’s a fine line there. You want to make sure you handle things the right way.”

On this week’s practice schedule…
“We’re practicing tonight last night and tonight so we get very similar weather to what we’re going to get at game time. As we move closer to the kickoff, we’ll move back into a normal schedule so the kids get back to their routine. But last night and tonight we’ll practice under the lights to simulate the time of the kickoff.”

Follow Ole Miss Football on Twitter (@OleMissFB), Facebook and Instagram in addition to



    • Feigl Continues Dominance as Rebels Even Series

      Saturday, March 17, 2018 - Baseball

      Mike Bianco balked on declaring Brady Feigl's 6.1 inning, nine-strikeout outing on Saturday against Tennessee his best one, but that's mostly because there have been ample to choose from. The junior right-hander has been consistently dominant sandwiched in the... read more

    • Experienced Rebels Ready For SEC Play

      Thursday, March 15, 2018 -

      The 2017 SEC season brought with it some hard lessons and adverse situations for a young Ole Miss ball club. But this time around, a team that ran through its nonconference slate at 17-1 and has consistently shown signs... read more

    • Kermit Davis Poised to Lead Ole Miss Hoops

      Thursday, March 15, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss officially announced the hiring of Kermit Davis to be the school's next head men's basketball coach. Davis arrives in Oxford after serving as the head coach of Middle Tennessee State for the last 16 seasons. "I'm incredibly honored... read more

    • Rebel Alums: Where are They Now

      Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - Men's Tennis

      96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} In our third installment of... read more

    • Spring Practice Rolls On For Ole Miss

      Wednesday, March 7, 2018 -

      Ole Miss is now knee deep into spring ball and endured its fifth practice on Wednesday afternoon. Head coach Matt Luke says he has been pleased with the development of some the younger players in the early stagesof spring... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Rebel Bats Bury Governors

      Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - Baseball

      Thomas Dillard demolished a pair of fastballs in the second and third innings of Ole Miss' 11-4 win over Austin Peay on Tuesday night and nearly singled handedly gave Houston Roth a 5-1 run lead by collecting those  four... read more

    • Linton Adjusting to New Home in Offensive Backfield

      Friday, March 2, 2018 -

      Armani Linton just wanted to help out any way he could. He wasn't getting as many reps in practice last fall at his natural position of safety and he wanted to do more. "I was sitting around not doing... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Rebels Grind Out Win Over Murray State

      Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - Baseball

      Thomas Dillard turned to Nick Fortes in the dugout in the early innings of Tuesday's game against Murray State with the Rebels trailing 4-0 and had a message for the junior catcher."I told him we were going to win this... read more

    • Luke Discusses 2018 Team as Spring Practice Arrives

      Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - Football

      Watch Press Conference | Press Conference TranscriptPhoto Gallery | 2018 Spring ProspectusThe focus will be on players and not plays, Ole Miss head football coach Matt Luke proclaimed at his Tuesday press conference opening spring football, referring to how valuable the... read more

    • Mike Smith's Rebels Shaped by Coach's Military Background

      Tuesday, February 27, 2018 -

      Mike Smith sits at his desk and stares intently at his computer screen in his office one afternoon in early February. A 2018 season with lofty expectations attached to it is set to begin in Gulf Shores, Alabama in... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Rebs Sweep Green Wave with 6th Inning Deluge

      Sunday, February 25, 2018 - Baseball

      The timely hits just keep coming for No. 9 Ole Miss. A Thomas Dillard walk loaded the bases one at-bat after Ole Miss had chased Tulane starter Keegan Gillies who had turned in six innings of one-run ball scattering four... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Ole Miss Takes Two from Tulane

      Saturday, February 24, 2018 - Baseball

      It was not quite the typical day at the ballpark for No. 9 Ole Miss, but it was certainly an efficient one as the Rebels put two in the win column over Tulane after Friday night's game was postponed in... read more

    • Luke, Players to Appear at SEC Media Days 2018

      Thursday, February 22, 2018 - Football

      The SEC announced its schedule for its annual SEC Media Days which will take place July 16-19 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and three players that have not yet been... read more

    • Luke, Plays to Appear at SEC Media Days 2018

      Thursday, February 22, 2018 -

      The SEC announced its schedule for its annual SEC Media Days which will take place July 16-19 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke and three players that have not yet been... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Kessinger and Fortes Team Up to Top Tigers

      Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Baseball

      Sitting atop the Ole Miss lineup and the first to dig into the batter's box, a conscious effort to be aggressive early in counts from shortstop Grae Kessinger has led to a productive beginning to his sophomore campaign. And... read more




  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago