Matt Luke Weekly Press Conference

Luke Recaps Win Over Vanderbilt, Previews Matchup with No. 24 LSU

Ole Miss Football Head Coach Matt Luke met with the media Monday to recap the win over Vanderbilt, and preview Saturday’s contest with No. 24 LSU (6:15 p.m., ESPN).

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Opening Statement…
“After reviewing the tape I was really excited. Anytime you get an SEC win, it’s a good thing. Watching the tape, it was the obvious. I’m really pleased with our balance offensively and I thought that really helped. Defensively, I really liked our energy — (we had) seven sacks, and they got some turnovers. So I’m really pleased with that.”

Injury Report…
“Injury wise, we had some bumps and bruises offensively but nothing major. I think everyone will be back. Defensively, Jarrion Street, he’s in the concussion protocol but I think he’ll be fine. He’ll probably miss Tuesday’s practice. Victor Evans and Qaadir Sheppard will have surgery this week and will be out. Gary Wunderlich, we’ll find out how he kicks. I was very impressed with Luke Logan as he was 100 percent. He stepped in there well. If Gary does come back, he’ll be our kicker. Luke (Logan) is going to be the future, but if Gary comes back — he’s been in those pressure situations before. We’ll see where he is later on in the week.”

On LSU…
“I have a lot of respect for coach Ed Orgeron. I worked for him for a year as his recruiting coordinator. He’s obviously very energetic guy and I learned a lot from him. I’ve been very impressed at how he’s rallied his team. Very impressive their last two wins on third down — Auburn was 3-of-14 and Florida was 2-of-9. They did a good job getting off the field defensively. That’s been the difference in their wins. Offensively, they give you a lot of schematic problems with their shifts and motions trying to out-leverage and out-flank you. They have a lot of good players. It’s definitely going to be an exciting atmosphere in Vaught-Hemingway on Saturday. That home field advantage was huge for us this Saturday. Our players feed off of our crowd. We’re excited to have another home SEC game.”

On the importance of this game…
“It’s the next game. It’s an SEC game. It’s against LSU. It’s a big game because it’s the next game. Our challenge is to carry on the momentum of our last six quarters into the next game. The challenge after a win is to not let a win mask some of the mistakes you made. We need to continue to get better week in and week out. I don’t think everything is the way it needs to be. We still have a lot of improvements we need to make offensively and defensively. I think that’s important to not let a win mask those things. I think the teams that finish strong down the stretch are the ones that continue to improve. We need to be one game better each week.”

On limiting explosive plays…
“That’s what I was alluding to — don’t let a win mask those little things. That’s what we have to do. It was a poor fit. It wasn’t necessarily getting beat physically, it’s just fitting the right spots consistently. That’s the challenge for a young, inexperienced team is to be consistent. I think you saw us do it right more, and that’s where you get wins. I don’t think we’re ever going to be perfect. But I think the more you can do things the right way and have the guys in the right spots and the right gaps, the more we’ll be successful. We just have to keep coming. We were one game better, now next week we have to be another game better and continue to play with energy. When you play with energy and people run to the ball, you can overcome some of those mistakes, and that’s huge.”

On Markell Pack…
“He’s got a knee injury. Pregame of Auburn, he tweaked it. He just didn’t feel right, and he just hasn’t felt right. I’m hoping he can give us some snaps this season, because he has some experience, he’s played in big games. I’m just hoping his knee will come around.”

On the offensive line play…
“It’s just the balance. The ability to run the football and keep the defense off balance. It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing. Defenses are good enough to where if you’re one dimensional, they can take that away. Being able to run the football keeps the defense on their heels a little bit and lets the offensive line attack rather than always backing up. I think that really helps, and they’ve played better. They’ve accepted the challenge. The last two games have been their best two. I think they took a step against Auburn and another step against Vanderbilt. They need to continue to improve, because when they play well, Shea (Patterson) feels more comfortable and we get our run game going, that opens up stuff in the pass game. They just need to continue to build and take the next step.”

On Marquis Haynes’ big game against Vanderbilt…
“I think maybe he was pressing and trying to make every play instead of letting the game come to him. We just sat down and talked to him, and I think he wasn’t having fun. He was wanting to make all these plays. But he looked like was having fun Saturday. He was smiling, he just cut it loose and played. He played within the scheme. It was really good to see him back out there having fun playing football. The overall energy, the home field crowd — everything just had a different feel to it, and I think he was a big reason for that.”

On going to a five-man front against LSU…
“You’ve got to do whatever you can do to slow down those guys. But they present so many problems with the shifts and the motions and the speed sweeps. They attack you on the perimeter. If you can load everyone in the box, they get on the perimeter with those speed sweeps and present some challenges. It’ll be important to have a sound, solid game plan where we aren’t doing a bunch of moving around, because they do so much motion and shifting that they give you some issues.”

On LSU’s play over the last two weeks…
“Any time somebody gets written off and you can bounce back, that’s really special. That’s a tribute to coach Orgeron for him to rally his team. The biggest thing that stands out to me is their third-down production on defense and getting people off the field. Auburn 3-of-14, Florida 2-of-9 — that’s a recipe for winning football games. I’ve been impressed at how they’ve rallied. To go on the road to get a win at Florida then come and beat a top-10 team, they obviously have things going in the right direction, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

On Derrius Guice…
“He’s just a good back. We’ve seen him before and he’s very talented. They attack you outside on the perimeter, so your safeties have to be there. Your linebackers have to see all the eye candy, then you have a talented back like him and a physical offensive line. I think their scheme and the way they attack you is tough, and he’s obviously a great back. We have to do a great job at tackling him. One-on-one, he’s going to win that matchup an awful lot, so we’re going to have to get a lot of people to the ball.”

On LSU’s offensive playmakers…
“You’ve got to stop Guice. That’s first. They do a good job with their speed sweep motions to different people. D.J. Chalk returned a punt for a touchdown, so you’ve got to stop him. They’ll get him in some one-on-one matchups. If you load the box up, they’ll hurt you with the speed sweeps. They’ve got some guys who can beat you on the perimeter. But the big focus is stopping Guice. You want to take him out of the game and make them one-dimensional.”

On the defensive line depth…
“I was very impressed with Austrian Robinson. Austrian has come on and played really well. His effort and energy has been really good. Ross Donnelly showed up a couple of times and did some good things. I’ve been impressed with those guys. Josiah Coatney and Breeland Speaks, you know what they’re going to give you, but to see those guys gives some reps — it was hot Saturday, so anytime you can play those guys and give the other guys some rest, that’s good. But I was really impressed with Austrian and Ross. They gave us some quality snaps in an SEC game. That’s a big improvement for us. I think Markell Winters, he played some. But I think we can continue to get better there. He’s the guy who really has to step up with Victor being down.”

On coaching against Ed Orgeron…
“This is a huge game. I think fans will be excited to be here. It’s an Ole Miss/LSU rivalry. As far as me, I only worked with him for a year, but we are cordial. It’ll be a competitive game and I’m looking forward to it. I was very impressed with his attack in the recruiting aspect of it. I was impressed with that and liked his energy. It’s easy to see why players rally around him and play for him. Those are the two things I learned being around him, the amount of energy and his work ethic. He has a tireless work ethic.”

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