Ole Miss Football: Grading Out The Ole Miss/Auburn Game

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 07: Derrick Brown
AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 07: Derrick Brown /
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Coaching Grades

OK, we all know most of this coaching staff may not be in Oxford after this season. We have an interim head coach and a staff which was mostly hired under the watch of Hugh Freeze. Last week OHT may have been a little hard in our grades, however we were fair. Once again, this week we may be hard but we’ll be fair. Let’s begin with the good news first.

Everyone of these coaches on this staff are coaching for jobs next year. They are either coaching for this job or their next one. They want to win and they won’t stop trying to get better. That’s a very strong positive for this staff right now. So let’s get busy with the Auburn grades and stick with the good news first.

Offensive Coordinator

I’ve been tough on coach Phil Longo so far this season, I admit. However, I feel he could do a better job offensively with the weapons he has on this team. Ole Miss is talented and young and that with a new OC equates into raw. Of course, this is a test for this young offense and Longo.

After the Bama game it seems Longo added a new game-plan for this offense and it showed in the Auburn game. He used his backs more in the passing game and Ole Miss produced. Also I saw a definite increase in tempo. With his adjustments in the second half Ole Miss was able to move the ball and score points.

The one area of improvement for Longo is in the rushing game. Wilkins is a strong back and has been running hard in the last two games. Longo should be using him more in the rushing game and continue to use him out of the backfield in the passing game. So with the improvements on offense in the Auburn game we need to grade him fairly.

OC Grade, B-

Defensive Coordinator

So, we can’t really expect the defensive coordinator’s grade to be much better than the defenses grade can we? Yes, it can actually be much better. However we can’t give out good grades until we actually see a definitive improvement on defense. In this case, we see some improvement and we see a coach who made positive adjustments in the second half of the Auburn game.

However, we have to maintain our position at this point as a team which cannot stop the run. Until we see a defense which can shed blocks, make tackles and provide pressure, coach McGriff may see more under average grades. Of course, our last impressions from the second half was we remember most so we have to be fair.

DC Grade, C+

Head Coach

Last week in the Bama game we saw a Matt Luke who really looked out-of-place. Ole Miss got down early and Luke who didn’t look like he belonged on the sideline. He simply looked overwhelmed. Trust me, he’s not the first head coach whose had that happen to him in Bryant -Denny Stadium.

However, Saturday against Auburn we saw a different kind of coach. He had fire while he was on the sideline. That’s the Matt Luke I remember hearing in Section C at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium when he was an offensive line coach. My sons and I could literally hear him screaming at the offensive line between series. He coached with authoritative passion.

Coach Luke needs to coach like he did against Auburn the rest of this season. When he’s fired up this team plays at a different level. From here thru the rest of this season, Matt Luke just needs to bring his passion to the sidelines. We’ve seen it before.

So we lost at Auburn. It’s not the first time that’s happened. However, we did hold Auburn to 9 second half points and saw both coordinators make proper halftime adjustments. The head coach deserves a little credit.

Head Coach Grade, B

In Closing

So, there you have it. There are the OHT grades for the Ole Miss and Auburn game. Will the Rebels grades be better for the Vandy game? I have a really good feeling about this week’s game and believe this Ole Miss football team will continue to improve. We don’t have to wait for long as the Rebels host the Dores this Saturday at the Vaught.

Next: Don't Give Up!

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