Rebel coaches, players provide hope for 2018 season at Ole Miss Football’s media day

Posted on Aug 2 2018 - 7:54pm by Jade Richardson and Justin Dial

With the 2018 football season less than a month away, the Ole Miss Rebels gathered in the Manning Center for Media Day on Thursday.

Players’ and coaches’ vibes were optimistic, and hopes were high for the Rebels in the locker room. The atmosphere throughout the building was exciting and everyone seemed anxious to get the season started.

“I’m really excited to get started with another season of football,” head coach Matt Luke said in his opening statement. “I feel like we’re coming in with a lot of positive momentum after winning three of the last four (games last season) and having a top-25 recruiting class.”

Football head coach Matt Luke discusses the “core group of leaders” on the team at a press conference on Thursday. Luke expressed that he is hopeful for the upcoming season. Photo by Christian Johnson

After being thrust into the role of interim head coach last season, Luke is confident that the team as a whole has grown exponentially as it enter its second season. A full regular and offseason as a head coach in the SEC is sure to make a big difference this year for Luke and his team.

“I think what I will be better at is just being much more efficient with my time,” Luke said. “Offensively, defensively and recruiting. I think it comes with experience and I’ll be one year better.”

He and his players are confident that this year’s team, especially the defense, will exceed preseason expectations.

The Ole Miss defense has gotten flak over the past few seasons and ranked No. 115 in the nation in total defense during the 2017 season. However, the players are looking to get back to the trademark “Landshark” defense.

“The Landshark defense is gonna be back this year,” Freshman Josh Clarke said. “That’s all I’m gonna say.”


Linebacker Detric Bing-Dukes said the defense learned a lot during the offseason and that he now feels the players know the ins and outs of defense wholeheartedly after being in the same system for another year.

Offensively, Ole Miss is projected by most media outlets to be one of the most explosive in the nation again, as they were a season ago. Coming off of a season where the Rebels ranked No. 11 in total passing offense, it’s going to be hard to top that. However, Luke believes that his quarterback and the ‘NWO’ (short for nasty wideouts) will be even better than they were in 2017.

“They’re talented, unselfish, and they work really hard,” Luke said. “They’re very driven. They push each other to be better, and that’s what I like about those guys.”

Quarterback Jordan Ta’amu said he is ecstatic to have such a talented group of wide receivers at his disposal. With projected first-round pick A.J. Brown, along with D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge to throw the ball to, he appeared thankful to be in his position and anxious to get onto the field.

“I’m super blessed to have them around me,” Ta’amu said. “I’m excited for our offense as a whole, and I’m super stoked for this season.”

Not many in the media are expecting much from this Rebel team as a whole, but with no bowl game to play for, the Rebels will look to prove doubters wrong come Sept. 1. Ole Miss kicks the season off in Houston against Texas Tech in a highly-anticipated Advocare Kickoff game, which will be nationally televised.

Matt Luke coaches players from the sidelines during the Grove Bowl on Saturday. File photo by Taylar Teel