Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke is well aware of all the negative attention, the lowered expectations and the questions surrounding his own ability to guide the Rebels during this tough time.
And he can’t wait for the school’s chance to respond on the football field.
On Thursday morning, Ole Miss released this video in which Luke had plenty to say to his players. The message was clear: Use the disrespect as motivation this coming season.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) July 27, 2017
In the video, Luke is seen to speaking to a huddled group of players.
“You’ve been going at it and going at it, and I want you to enjoy your time off,” Luke said. “But I’m going to tell you this. Don’t let it leave far from your mind that they don’t respect you. You understand what I’m saying? Don’t let it leave far from your mind everything that they’ve been saying.”
At SEC Media Days, Ole Miss was picked to finish last in the SEC West, and the Rebels received the fewest total points of any SEC team (points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale).
“Everybody is trying to define who we are,” Luke continued. “Everybody’s trying to tell us what we’re going to be. We’re the only ones that decide who we are. Y’all understand what I’m saying? We decide that. In one week, it’s just us. In one week, you get to do what you love. You don’t get to worry about all the outside distractions. In one week, we get to play football.”
Luke has also taken to heart some of the skepticism directed at him. However, the former Ole Miss center and long-time assistant coach let his team know that he’s not taking his opportunity for granted.
“Everybody saw a head coach that was just grateful to be here, thankful for the job. Hey, I’ve been coaching and playing here for 14 years, and I don’t plan on going damn nowhere. Y’all understand what I’m saying? I don’t plan on going damn nowhere.”