A few quick take-aways from Matt Luke’s time with local media before he visits the main room …
For starters, there’s a different vibe around the program to be out from under NCAA sanctions and to have the chance to compete for a bowl game, Luke said.
All players who were held out of spring drills because of injury or precautionary reasons are ready to go.
That includes defensive back Jaylon Jones, who will be full speed and will also be used again on special teams.
All signees have reported, and no academic casualties are expected.
While the Rebels reached scholarship numbers in the 60s after injuries set in last year, they are at 84 right now – one scholarship under the 85 maximum.
With the off-season departures of linebackers Kevontae Ruggs and Josh Clarke, kicker Luke Logan and punter Mac Brown were placed on scholarship.
Luke reiterated his belief that the seven true freshman offensive line signees will have to compete for key roles. He seems far from settled on the left side of the OL where Bryce Mathews (tackle) and Royce Newman (guard) are currently listed as starters. Right tackle Alex Givens could play some on the left side, Luke said.
Luke said he saw a seamless transition to the 3-4 defense in the spring and expects that side of the ball to be much better.
He said he saw Rich Rodriguez install not only a new system but an attitude of toughness that will be important especially for so many young players on that side of the ball.