I had just watched the Ole Miss football team play possibly the worst 8 quarters in recent program history. This going back to the last two quarters of the Cal game, followed by a terrible showing in Tuscaloosa.
Finally, the first two quarters of Ole Miss football at Auburn continued the 8 quarter string. It was clear at the time that the events that had provided the unforeseen opportunity for Matt Luke to be the head coach at the program might have also made the job impossible. This might have been an impossible opportunity which he had to take.
Fast Forward to December 20th watching Coach Luke lead the program to an unlikely recruiting day. No, it wasn’t a top ten type day which we had seen in 2013 and 2016. However, in many ways it was even more remarkable.
Ole Miss had lost its top rated quarterback from that 2016 class and could have easily folded. Instead we watched a relatively unheralded junior college transfer come in and lead the program to a 3 win November. Of course we watched as Ole Miss football overcame all odds and beat a good Mississippi State team in Starkville.
The Waiting Game
Ole Miss Rebels Football
And then we waited to see who would be hired. Many thought it was likely that Ole Miss would have to look outside for leadership. In particular the speed at which Luke was given the job made many question whether it was the right choice anyway.
It seemed that more time could have been taken to try to land one of the top prospect coaches. In hind sight moving quickly was absolutely the right thing.
Of course Luke got to work immediately finding the quarterback of the future. Against all odds, he was able to land in Matt Corral the number 3 rated pro style quarterback available according to most experts.
Then on signing day two top commits to Georgia and Mississippi State switched and signed with Ole Miss. This with all of the negative publicity around the NCAA sanctions.
The 2018 class vaulted over 30 positions up as the result of these developments. And there is a chance the class ranking could improve before the February signing period.
Finally, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Luke has managed to limit the losses to transfer. Yes, the loss of Shea Patterson hurts. And to a lesser degree some of the others hurt. However, this team is mostly intact thanks in large part to Matt Luke. In fact, since the team was a young team to begin with there is likely a stronger core than many other teams have returning.
Of course, expectations have to be tempered. In the 2 to 3 year time frame there may still be some tough times for the program. However, there is reason for optimism about the future of the program and is thanks in large part to Athletic Director Ross Bjork’s decisiveness in hiring Matt Luke. Hotty Toddy.