Ta’amu Confident in Ability to Lead Offense

Jordan Ta’amu is preparing for his first start this Saturday vs. Arkansas. – Photo by Greg Pevey, Rebel Nation Magazine

Matt Luke is Confident in His New Signal Caller

By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com

Oxford, Miss – Jordan Ta’amu endured a wave of emotions when he found out Shea Patterson was going to miss the remainder of the season with a torn PCL.

“I was devastated,” Ta’amu said. “I wouldn’t wish that upon anybody,”

His phone began to flood with text messages, a heavy portion of them from teammates rallying behind their new signal caller.

“They were saying they had my back and I have theirs too,” Ta’amu said. “I wanted to give it my all like Shea gave it his all. That is all I can do.”

The Hawaii native and junior college transfer will be handed the keys to Phil Longo’s air raid offense, one with a lot of intricacies such as run-pass options and pre-snap reads. Luckily, Ta’amu came to campus in time for spring football and has had the summer and half a season to get comfortable with it.

“I was still learning more in August, to be honest,” Ta’amu said. “Just sitting behind Shea and watching him in the games and practices taught me a lot. I learned a lot of from him and now I just have to apply it to the field.”

Photo by Greg Pevey, Rebel Nation Magazine

He is confident in the grasp he has of the system.

“He is with me 100 percent right now,” Ta’amu said of Longo. “I have confidence in him as well.”

His sample size is small, but also one that sprouted positive results. He came into the game late in the second quarter after Patterson’s injury and marched the team down the field. The drive produced a field goal that cut into the LSU lead.

“I think just going out there and playing well in his drives earned him credibility amongst all of the guys,” head coach Matt Luke said. “They were excited that he led two scoring drives. I think that really helps him when he was out there. He has done well.”

He also led a 66-yard touchdown drive towards the end of the game and finished 7-11 for 78 yards.

“After getting that touchdown, I was more than pumped,” Ta’amu said. “I knew I could run this offense. It was pretty exciting. The team and coaching staff was excited behind me.”

Luke thinks the team will be able to use Ta’amu’s ability to run in their game plan. He is a dual-threat guy like Patterson, but runs more deliberately and is better served for designed runs as opposed to Patterson’s knack of extending plays with his feet by way of the scramble.

“There are some things with his skill-set and our running game that he will have a chance to pull on the edge and some different stuff,” Luke said. “Maybe a little bit more play action as opposed to drop back passing. There are some things we do in our RPOs. There are some things like that we can do. I think he is going to be looking to run north and south, not as much scrambling to make a play. I don’t think we will hold anything back.”

Ta’amu has been given equal practice reps all season while commanding the second-team offense. Now he gets his crack at solving SEC defenses.

“Everything is a lot faster, everyone is a lot bigger and faster and all of that. I have bigger targets. It is kind of a big jump getting used to the speed of the game. I believe I have it though.”

The team will now look to its new quarterback to guide them through the rest of the season. The little experience he has helped his confidence and comfort. Patterson’s vote of confidence has helped him even more.

“He told me to go do my thing and that he knows I can run this offense like he can,” Ta’amu said. “I just have to resume that and carry this team, and be a leader.” – RN