Coordinator hires show Luke is more interested in winning than ego or self-preservation

Rich Rodriguez has been a major college football head coach for more than a decade, and at one time he was one of the most coveted in the sport (he turned down Alabama before Nick Saban took the job), so none of us believe for a minute that his end game is being Matt Luke’s offensive coordinator. Rodriguez wants a foot in the door so he can rebuild his reputation, re-establish his brand and get another head coaching gig. The same is likely true for new defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre.

Luke knows what he’s getting in these two coaches. Experience. And he obtained it at the cost of his own ego. Luke just wants to win.

REBUILD, NOT EGO, DRIVES LUKE’S DECISIONS

RICH RODRIGUEZ’S GREATEST SEASON AS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR

Former West Virginia QB Pat White on Rich Rod at Ole Miss

Good read here from Ben Garrett.

PAT WHITE: PERFECTING RICH ROD’S SYSTEM, WHAT REBELS CAN EXPECT

There’s no doubt that Rich Rodriguez knows what it takes to make an offense go, but does he have the players in place at Ole Miss to make his system work? The speedy Pat White was made for his system. Is Matt Corral? Or can Rodriguez adapt his scheme to fit Corral’s strengths? That’s a question we can ponder from now until September.

Matt Luke hit a couple very much needed home runs with his coordinator hires

If you had told me in the 24 hours after the Egg Bowl disaster concluded that in a little over a month Ole Miss would have Mike MacIntyre as defensive coordinator and Rich Rodriguez as offensive coordinator I would have accused you of dipping into the Egg Nog prematurely and a few too many times.

The Rebels looked like a sinking ship, and frankly, I didn’t think Matt Luke would be able to convince a coordinator of any renown to come aboard.

I was wrong.

As it turns out, while money can’t buy happiness, it can buy coordinators ($2.5 million annually between MacIntyre and Rodriguez), and the Rebels bought a couple of good ones in MacIntyre and Rodriguez. I’m not saying these guys are magicians that can make Ole Miss a contender overnight, there are still talent and depth issues to deal with, but nobody will be able to accuse these experienced coaches of not knowing what they are doing either.

Each has experienced success. Each has produced a winner. Each has “been there before.”

I have newfound hope for Ole Miss football.

Rodriguez to receive $1 million annually

Ole Miss set to hire Rodriguez as offensive coordinator

MacIntyre gets $1.5 million annually

 

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A December to Remember

The Ole Miss Rebels could go undefeated in December with a win over Florida Gulf Coast University today. A win would improve the Rebels to 10-2 and send Ole Miss into conference play on a 7-game winning streak.

The Rebels boast two of the SEC’s top 10 leading scorers in Breein Tyree and Terence Davis and currently hold the SEC’s best field goal shooting and free throw shooting percentage.

The game tips at 1pm, and I’m going to await the outcome before spiking the basketball on this season any further. I’m liking what I’m seeing here though.

The new and improved Breein Tyree might just give Ole Miss a shot

Breein Tyree looked like the best player on the floor when Ole Miss beat Middle Tennessee 74-56 last Friday. Tyree led the Rebels with 24 points that night.

Conference play hasn’t started yet, so I’m not ready to make any grand pronouncements as to how good Ole Miss might be this season, or whether the Rebs have any shot at playing their way into the NCAA Tournament, but I will say that Tyree’s emergence as a scorer makes him a legit tandem with Terence Davis.

Ole Miss is 9-2 with one more non-conference game to play before the SEC schedule starts, and here I am again…starting to feel optimistic.

BREEIN TYREE STEPPED UP, NOW LEADING OLE MISS BASKETBALL

The Search for OC Continues…

I was not one of those in the camp thinking that Ole Miss had to have Will Hall as offensive coordinator. That’s mostly because I don’t know much about Hall, other than his Mississippi high school football pedigree, and not many others do either. I’ve never watched one of his teams play. Maybe he would have been great. I really just don’t know.

Therefore, I’m not among those freaking out because Hall has withdrawn from consideration.

However, I am concerned as to why this search is lingering and what kind of hire can be expected in January.

It’s getting a little late in the coaching search season to expect to attract a splashy name. Now that early signing day has already come and gone, splashy is probably less important than just plain good. Ole Miss needs to make a good hire.

I’m still holding on to hope that will happen.

But this search stretching into January makes me nervous.

Losing in the Living Room is Going to Cause Ole Miss to Lose on the Field

As I watched the Ole Miss defense resist opposing offenses with the ferocity of melted butter for most of the season, I couldn’t help but wonder what the impact would be on recruiting.

What would Matt Luke have to sell other than an obvious chance to play early?

Playing early only gets you so far.

Most kids, I suspect, would like to play for a team that has a chance to win.

It would take quite the imagination and an extreme belief in self for a recruit like Nakobe Dean to watch the Ole Miss defense this season and believe he could make it dramatically better. Why not play for a team already built to win in the SEC?

I believed early this season, and still do, that Luke and Ross Bjork made a strategic error in not firing Wesley McGriff last year or early on this season when there might have been time to do something about the defense or at least change the narrative. The defense was sloppy and hard to watch.

Why would a recruit who could play anywhere join himself to a sinking ship?

I’d like to join the optimistic few who believe that finishing last in the SEC West in recruiting is still good enough for a Top 25 finish and that a Top 25 class may be good enough.

But when it comes to recruiting rankings, the proof is in the pudding. Teams that recruit well win football games. The Rebels have now been out-recruited by the entirety of the SEC West for two consecutive years. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, every single team in the SEC West is on the schedule every season. That’s not good.

Obviously, Luke was dealt a tough hand having to lead Ole Miss out of NCAA probation. I get that. But the numbers are what the numbers are. The Rebels have to win recruiting battles to win in the SEC West, and it isn’t happening.

Blame the NCAA. Blame Hugh Freeze. Blame Bjork. Blame Luke. Blame McGriff. Blame whoever you want. At this point, blame doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the Rebels aren’t positioned to win SEC West football games for the next few years, and that’s a bummer.

Long-Gone-O

Phil Longo is long gone-o, on his way to North Carolina to serve as offensive coordinator under new Tar Heels head coach Mack Brown.

And now Matt Luke is looking for his second coordinator. This is turning into a complete overhaul of the coaching staff.

Ole Miss will be a different football team in 2019, and thank goodness for that.

While I don’t expect overnight success, i.e., a winning season in 2019, having new coordinators and new systems and just a new look altogether will at least give Luke something he didn’t enjoy in 2018 – a fresh start.

Maybe Luke can get this thing out of the ditch.