14 years as part of the Ole Miss football program as a coach or player has prepared Matt Luke for this opportunity. Admittedly it doesn't come under the circumstances he might've envisioned. But with a Rebel bloodline that runs 3 generations deep, the position fulfills a lifelong dream.
"I can truly tell y'all today that this is my dream job," Luke said Monday at his first press conference as Ole Miss interim head coach. "It's a job that I've been preparing my whole life for. I feel more strongly than ever right now that I'm the man to run this program."
The promotion follows the stunning news of Hugh Freeze's resignation last week. A complicated situation that players, coaches and fans alike are trying to wrap their heads around.
"I was surprised," Luke said. "I didn't have long because I was given a job to do, so immediately my focus went to moving forward and went to the players."
Javon Patterson is the only Rebel offensive lineman that started all 12 games in 2016: "It was shocking you know but next morning we reverted back to ourselves, reverted back to training got our brotherhood together came out there and had a great workout and we're on a mission."
Spending the last 5 seasons as the offensive line coach, Luke brings a strong familiarity with the current roster. Many of the players are connecting with an unrelenting passion he brings to the table.
Breeland Speak said "I love coach because he gets after it. He doesn't mind the grind, he doesn't mind getting your hands dirty. That's just how Coach Luke has always been."
Shea Patterson feels the Rebels will rally around Luke. "One of our goals as a team this year is to win as many games as we can so he's not a Band-Aid coach. There's nobody better to lead this team, this program than Coach Luke."
Matt Luke won't have long to rally the Rebels. Fall camp opens August 2nd. His 12-game audition begins September 2nd against South Alabama.
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