Rebel coaches look forward to challenge against Florida State

Posted on Aug 31 2016 - 8:05am by Sam Harres

The No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels look to make a statement this Monday against the perennial powerhouse No. 4 Florida State Seminoles. Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke said he knows how tough the game will be.

“They’re good. They’re fast, big, strong. They don’t just let you line up a tackle them, they’re all over the place and they’ve got multiple packages. Very complex on third down,” Luke said.

As game day approaches, Luke said he likes what he’s seen from his group.

“I like the attitude. I think we have some really good kids in there, good leaders,” Luke said. “We talk about not being better individually, but collectively. That’s our goal.”

Rod Taylor, a junior offensive lineman, has been exceeding expectations during fall camp.

“I’ve been pleased with Rod,” Luke said. “I think he’s been the surprise of camp. His knowledge of the offense, I’ve always been impressed with that. He’s always been a great athlete, and so that was my thought putting him out there at left tackle, because he can move his feet so well in space. He gives you a little punch. There’s gonna be some struggles in space pass blocking but we just have to keep working through those.”

Redshirt freshman Eric Swinney, a running back out of Riverdale, Georgia, has also impressed at camp.

“I’m excited, trying to stay level-headed and focused on what I got to do. Just play my game and just do what coach asks me to do,” Swinney said. “I’m bigger, faster and I’m starting to get my speed back.”

Swinney also had good things to say about Chad Kelly returning for his second year as an Ole Miss Rebel.

Chad Kelly

Chad Kelly communicates with his offense during a game last year. Kelly is one of the returning players that will lead Ole Miss against a very competitive Florida State. (File Photo: Cameron Brooks)

“Chad is who he is,” Swinney said. “He’s a competitor, a leader.”

Matt Luke, entering his fifth year on the staff, said he feels the same way.

“No doubt, that’s why quarterback is so important. Having a veteran quarterback helps,” Luke said when asked how Kelly’s veteran status would help the Rebels on Monday.

Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack said he can sense the excitement brewing amongst his team.

“You can tell a little in their step, it’s game week and they’re excited, anxious,” Wommack said. “I think everybody wishes we were playing on Saturday.”

Florida State will be debuting their fourth starting quarterback since 2011 on Monday in redshirt freshman Deondre Francois.

“He’s a really good athlete, he throws the ball well,” Wommack said.

Francois, who played his high school ball at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, doesn’t have the usual game film so the Ole Miss staff is turning to other means.

“You go back, you look at the spring game and you look at the IMG stuff and you look at his mechanics and what kind of player and athlete he is,” Wommack said.