Following Alabama’s trouncing of Ole Miss over the weekend, the Rebels are trying to put the loss behind them and look toward Saturday’s matchup versus Kent State.
Alabama was a heavy favorite leading up to Saturday’s game, which comes as no surprise, considering the Crimson Tide is the No. 1 team in the country. Nonetheless, Ole Miss players and coaches alike were excited and optimistic to have a big stage on which they could upset the reigning champs — it just didn’t play out how they had hoped it would.
“(I) just (had) disappointment after watching the tape (of the game). I felt like we had worked really hard to get back to a big game,” head coach Matt Luke said. “I’m just disappointed that it didn’t turn out the way that we all hoped. After watching the tape, the little things — the execution errors when you play the No. 1 team in the country — they show up bigger.”
Luke touched on the little things that can make a big difference in a game during Monday’s news conference, and he admitted that the coaching staff can do a better job of getting the players in the right positions to make a play.
“I think some of it is just confidence and going out there, executing over and over again, and then (doing) a little bit extra, because the magic is not in the scheme,” Luke said. “The magic is in effort and the execution of it, and a lot of that is coaching and getting guys to react and see things and play the game. But again, ultimately, that’s the coach’s job to get those guys to go out there and execute, and that’s what we have to do better.”
Coach Luke knows he and his staff have work to do this week. Kent State gives him an opportunity to fix some of the problems that have plagued the team over the past two weeks. It also gives him time to manage the team’s morale, which cannot be optimal coming off of a 55-point loss at home.
“Any time you’re dealt a disappointing loss, the thing is: We’ve been here before,” Luke said. “It’s not how many times you get knocked down; it’s how many times you can get back up. This is one of our 12 opportunities … we have the opportunity to be 3-1, and that’s our intention.”
Kent State will serve as another tune-up for the Rebels before their showdown with LSU in Baton Rouge. Luke will need to rally his troops and have them ready to go for Kent State. Confidence will be key for this group throughout the next two weeks, and a lopsided win versus the Golden Flashes would do wonders for morale.
“These kids will fight back,” Luke said. “We watched the tape, put it behind us and moved forward. Now the focus is on Kent State and … find(ing) a way to win that game.”