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After Season Opening Victory, Rebel Coaches Look For Improvement In Week Two

Ole Miss Head Coach Matt Luke during Media Day. Photo by Steven Gagliano

After opening the 2017 season with a 47-27 win over South Alabama on Saturday, the Ole Miss Rebels turn their focus to this weekend’s matchup against UT Martin. Matt Luke got his first win as the head coach of his alma mater, but he knows that there is room for improvement in week 2.
In his weekly press conference, Luke discussed how he felt about his team’s performance on both sides of the ball, and on special teams. Depth has been a key focus during the offseason but some “drop-off” from the first to the second teams stuck out the both Luke and DC Wesley McGriff. The Rebels made big plays through the air, but the running game finished with just 102 total yards. Despite the lower number, Luke explained how the run game was used efficiently and how the run/pass option plays were a focal point of the game plan. With one game down, the Rebels will begin to prepare for week two. 
“It’s important this week, that we create a standard about what we want a Sunday or a Tuesday practice to look like in preparation. This is the first true test because you’ve had so much time to prepare for the first game.”

DC Wesley McGriff 
McGriff talked about the tackling of his defense, and how there were too many missed tackles for his liking, but he is confident that they can get that cleaned up before the UT Martin game. McGriff saw flashes from each position group during Saturday’s win, but like Luke, he was disappointed in the second team. McGriff has harped on energy since his arrival, and he was pleased with the defenses’ overall effort and energy on Saturday.
“They came out an played with phenomenal energy. The effort was outstanding; I thought we populated the football really well,” McGriff said. 

OC Phil Longo
OC Phil Longo was hoping that his offense would play at a quicker tempo, but he was happy to see the execution and the decision making from QB Shea Patterson which led to over 530 total yards in the first game of the season. Patterson played the entire game, and while there were discussions of bringing in backup QB Jordan Ta’amu, Longo was happy to see Shea lead the team late and control the clock. 
“To have 69 plays and to have a handful where I might want to coach the QB a little bit, I thought Shea did a great job for opening day starting his first game as the premiere guy and making the decisions that he made.”

Ole Miss takes on UT Martin at home on Saturday with kickoff set for 11:00 a.m. central time. 

Steven Gagliano is the managing editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at steven.gagliano@hottytoddy.com

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