Respect

Ole Miss Co-Offensive Coordinator Matt Luke is under no illusions about LSU's defense. Even though the Tiger stoppers are currently not getting the ink of their 2013 offense, Luke knows LSU has a solid group on the defensive side of the ball.

Luke's appreciation of LSU defense starts at the top of their defensive staff.

"I've worked with John Chavis (LSU's defensive coordinator) before and he always does a great job," said Luke. "I have a lot of respect for him and how he goes about things.

"They seemed to put it all together in their last game against Florida on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Gators to two field goals. This being a rivalry game, I'm expecting that same kind of intense effort from them Saturday."

For Luke, the strength of the LSU defense starts inside at defensive tackle.

"Both their inside guys are really good. Number 9 (Ego Ferguson) and number 90 (Anthony Johnson) are big, strong and active," Luke continued. "Beyond them, the guy who sticks out the most is number 18 (Lamin Barrow). He is a really fast and active linebacker.

"Of course, talent is not an issue across the board for LSU, but those three guys stick out the most on film to me."

Luke said the key for the Rebels is, as always, execution.

"We have to do what we do well, to start with," he stated. "Then we have to get two hats on those guys a lot of time so we can get some movement in there.

"As is the case every week, we have to stay on schedule. We did a much better job against Texas A&M staying on schedule and it resulted in 38 points. That has to continue."


Matt Luke
File Photo

Against Texas A&M, the Rebs were able to do something they had not done in the previous games against Alabama and Auburn - get inside movement up front and produce enough of an inside running game to make the Aggies play them honestly.

"My guys responded about getting some movement inside against Texas A&M and we didn't in the previous two games," he said. "I want my guys to play with passion and I thought they did that against Texas A&M.

"I stood in front of them after the A&M game feeling a lot different than I did after the previous two. We have to continue playing that way if we expect to win."

Luke has played a light case of musical chairs this year on the OL. Right now, he's moving senior Emmanuel McCray between tackle and guard, he's got a nice guard rotation with Jared Duke, Justin Bell, McCray and freshman Austin Golson and senior Patrick Junen has come back into the picture now after struggling the first part of the year to get back to normal after two offseason surgeries.

"E-Man has really helped us with his versatility. We have played him at guard, tackle and even tight end in our heavy package. We are getting him on the field in different ways and he's doing what we ask him to do," Luke noted. "Patrick is coming along. I have been really hurt for him because he hasn't been 100% all season. Now, he's developing some confidence and I think you will see his reps go up from this point on."

Recently, Bell has been working a couple of periods a day at center, but Luke said that's not something we will see this year most likely.

"Justin is a really sharp kid. Evan (Swindall) is a senior. We are looking at Justin at center for the future, not for now," Luke said. "I'm keeping that option open for the future."

Luke took the opportunity this week in practice to work extra with his two redshirts - Daronte Bouldin and Davion Johnson - in some one-on-one drills.

"I'm really pleased with them. They are on the scout team right now, so I can't get as much individual work with them during the season as I'd like, but we did some this week," he said. "The thing you don't want is to wait until spring training and they be on the same level they were last August.

"I'm happy with their progress. We are making sure they are working, doing the little things right and progressing. When we get to spring training, they will be able to compete for a job. They are both big, strong and physical. They are just lacking reps."

Right now, however, the main concern is LSU and their defense.

"We have another great challenge. That's why you love playing in this league," Luke closed. "We'll get after it again and see what happens."


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