Matt Luke

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke made his first appearance at SEC Media Days last summer after serving as the Rebels’ interim coach in 2017.

Ole Miss coach Matt Luke will take to the SEC Media Days podium on Tuesday morning, accompanied to Hoover by quarterback Matt Corral, offensive lineman Alex Givens and linebacker MoMo Sanogo.

Here are five questions Luke will likely be asked during the media circus.

1, Will the coordinators make a difference?

As the Rebels seek to rebuild after NCAA sanctions and a 5-7 season, the biggest off-season news was hiring former head coaches Rich Rodriguez (offense) and Mike MacIntyre (defense), both of whom have been named Coach of the Year in the Pac-12.

Rodriguez teams at West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona were known for potent spread-option rushing attacks.

MacIntyre’s defenses as a coordinator at Duke and as a head coach at San Jose State and Colorado were known for being strong in fundamentals.

2, Can a young and athletic quarterback overcome his lack of experience?

No player on the Ole Miss roster benefited from last year’s rule change – which allowed true freshmen to play in four games and keep a redshirt season – than Matt Corral.

Now a redshirt freshman, Corral did enough last season to gain confidence in himself and trust from his coaches.

He’s still light in the pants when it comes to meaningful snaps in a football game, and he’ll be tasked to go the distance Aug. 31 at Memphis.

3, Who will emerge as playmakers at the skill positions?

The Rebels are losing generational-type talents at wide receiver in A.J. Brown and DK Metcalf.

Elijah Moore got his feet wet as a freshman, but the arsenal on paper is far from the same right now.

4, How does five-star freshman Jerrion Ealy fit in?

Ealy, a running back by position, will also be a threat in the passing game. He’s described as a game-changer, but he’s still just a freshman.

One of the biggest keys on offense will be how the offensive line responds to losing three starters and learning a new system.

You don’t subtract guys like Brown and Metcalf and not feel it, but the Rebels have continued to recruit well at wide receiver.

The guess here is there is plenty of ability, and that playmakers will indeed emerge even if the names aren’t apparent right now.

5, Will the Rebels be able to slow teams down?

If they are indeed better fundamentally, it will mean that they are lined up properly, in the right places more often and are better-equipped to make the tackle when they meet the play.

The move from defensive end to outside linebacker for Qaadir Sheppard in the 3-4 fits him better, and he could be poised for a big year.

Part of the answer will depend on whether cornerback Jaylon Jones looks like his old self.

It’s hit-and-miss with players coming off ACL tears. Jones messed up his knee in the season opener last year, and the Rebels lost their best defensive back.

MacIntyre needs to be able to trust Jones to play man coverage and provide run support for the defense to be the best it can be.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com Twitter: @parrishalford

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