Listen to the Matt Luke interview here on today’s edition of The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio. …
Matt Luke flirted with the idea of not watching video, but ultimately he gave it. He had to have a sneak peek of the offensive linemen he’s inheriting, not because he’s filling out a starting rotation right now, but just to have an idea of where to put people when spring drills begin in late March.
“The biggest thing I’m looking at is a starting point for spring. Obviously I’ve watched a little bit of it. I was tempted not to watch any of it, so I would have truly a clean slate when spring started, but I couldn’t help myself. I watched a little of it. I’m just trying to see where we can start some people,” said Luke, the Rebels’ offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator.
Where players start in the spring could be where they’ll finish. It’s possible. But Luke is adamant that he intends to shake things up on the offensive line – if a shake-up is what he considers to be what the group needs moving forward.
In the SEC stats in 2011 the Rebels were 11th in total offense, 11th in scoring offense, 11th in sacks allowed and 10th in rushing offense.
“I’m going to get out in the spring and try to find the five best playes who are going to compete and know how to play, figure out who’s going to compete and who’s not going to before we get out for our first game, find the five guys who are going to compete the way they’re supposed to,” Luke said.
“It might turn out that there might not be any changes, but I’m going to try and find some different combinations. If the backup right tackle is better than the first string left guard, well, that’s where he’s going to play. I’m not just going to keep a tackle a tackle just because that’s where he was supposed to play. I’m going to try and find some different combinations and some things and just figure out the five guys who are going to compete and play and fight. They’re the ones who will be out there.”
Luke mentioned centers Evan Swindall and A.J. Hawkins but not by name. Swindall took over for Hawkins as the starter around mid-season.
“There are a couple of centers who played last year. I’ll see if one of them can play guard and get the best five on the field. We’ll see what happens from that point on, but there is going to be open competition.”