Ole Miss

Ole Miss prepares for Ed Orgeron’s return to Oxford as LSU head coach

Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke is preparing his team for LSU this Saturday.
Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke is preparing his team for LSU this Saturday. Associated Press

Ole Miss coach Matt Luke didn’t want his players to get too low during a three-game losing streak.

Now he doesn’t want them to get too high after their first SEC win.

Former Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron brings his LSU team to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday night. The Tigers have won two straight after experiencing their own lows when they were upset 24-21 by Troy at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 30.

LSU is coming off a 27-23 win against then-No. 10 Auburn in a game LSU at one time trailed 20-0.

Luke will be competing in an Ole Miss-LSU game as a Rebels player or coach for the 15th time. Ole Miss defeated Vanderbilt 57-35 last Saturday in his first SEC win as head coach.

“Our challenge is to carry the momentum of our last six quarters into this game,” Luke said. “I don’t think everything is the way it needs to be. We still have a lot of improvement to make offensively and defensively. It’s important to not let a win mask those things.”

One area Luke would like to see the Rebels improve is in limiting explosive plays in the run game.

Ole Miss held Vanderbilt to 188 yards on the ground, 57 ½ yards less than the average it had allowed Alabama and Auburn in the first two SEC games.

The Rebels, though, gave up four runs of 20-plus yards, three of 30-plus yards. Vanderbilt running back Ralph Webb had 163 yards on 20 attempts with 96 yards on three runs.

Overall there were fewer misalignments, and there was more gap integrity, Luke said.

“I think you saw us do things right more, and that’s how you get wins. The teams that finish strong are the ones that continue to improve. We need to be one game better each week.”

First time as boss: Orgeron will coach against the Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the first time as a head coach. He was an assistant coach at Tennessee when Ole Miss defeated the Vols in Oxford in 2009. Orgeron was interim coach at LSU last year when the Tigers defeated Ole Miss 38-21.

Injury Update: Ole Miss ends Qaadir Sheppard (foot) and Victor Evans (knee) will have surgeries this week and will be out for an unspecified period of time, as is wide receiver Markell Pack (knee), who is not scheduled for surgery at this time. Reserve linebacker Jarrion Street will spend the next few days going through concussion protocol. Kicker Gary Wunderlich (hamstring) will be monitored through the week and could play against LSU.

Solid debut: Luke was pleased with Luke Logan, a redshirt freshman from Hattiesburg, who was 2 for 2 on field goals – both under 30 yards – and 7 for 7 on PATs in Wunderlich’s absence against Vanderbilt. “Luke is the future, but Gary has been in those pressure situations before,” Matt Luke said.

Peveto vs. the Tigers: Ole Miss linebacker and special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto was a long-time LSU assistant coach who was not retained by Orgeron after last season.

Near-historic points: The Rebels’ 57 points against Vanderbilt were their second-most in an SEC game. Ole Miss scored 63 against Vanderbilt in 1979.

Game plan

Who: LSU vs. Ole Miss

When: 6:15 p.m., Saturday

Where: Oxford


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