Matt Luke expects sophomore wide receiver Elijah Moore and junior safety Jonathan Haynes to play this weekend at Missouri.
Moore is nursing a minor groin injury he suffered in the win over Vanderbilt. His presence is crucial for the Rebels offense as he has become the favorite target for both John Rhys Plumlee and Matt Corral. Moore has 36 receptions for 460 yards this season. The next closest wideout in either department is true freshman Jonathan Mingo with nine receptions for 144 yards. Ole Miss has become a run-heavy team, which was to be expected in Rich Rodriguez’s first season as offensive coordinator. But Ole Miss’ struggles in the passing game go beyond a preference to run the football as the team is struggling to replace the likes of A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and Damarkus Lodge. Mizzou boasts one of the best run defenses in the sport and Ole Miss will have to be multi-demensional if it wishes to compete in this game.
Haynes suffered a lower-body injury in the loss at Alabama and missed last week’s win over Vanderbilt. He will provide a boost to a secondary that has taken its lumps through the first half of the 2019 season and started three freshmen last Saturday night.
— Luke remained tight-lipped about his quarterback situation after Wednesday’s practice. Plumlee and Corral split first-team reps on Wednesday according to Luke. Plumlee took the majority of the snaps with the first team offense in the portion of practice open to the media.
“Matt continues to get better and better,” Luke said. “They both offer different things and have different skillsets. It is good to have both of them ready and I think it is a challenge for opposing defenses to have to prepare for both.”
Luke wasn’t ready to name a starter. Corral, who has missed the last two games with bruised ribs, appeared healthy in practice last week leading up to the Vanderbilt game, but was held out as Plumlee played the entire game. Luke said the staff did not believe Corral could effectively run the football with the rib ailment, but thought Corral could’ve entered the game to throw if needed. Ole Miss rushed for 413 yards in the win — 165 by Plumlee on 22 carries — and threw just 18 passes.
Luke has remained open to the idea of both quarterbacks playing and more clarity will likely be gained on Saturday evening.
— Alex Givens assessed a stingy Missouri front seven, the evolution of the offensive line and more.
— Benito Jones is quietly putting together a monster 2019 season. He’s recorded 20 tackles, an interception, three sacks and six quarterback hurries as an interior defensive lineman. He discussed his play, the seniors’ desire to get to a bowl game and how to handle Kelly Bryant.