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Quick hits: Notes and video from Luke, coordinators Monday presser

There’s little time for Ole Miss to dwell on its season opening loss to Memphis. A young offense sputtered out of the gates and fell in too deep of a hole to climb out of after halftime.

Head coach Matt Luke and coordinators Mike MacInytre and Rich Rodriguez assessed what they saw on film from the game, where each unit can improve and what to expect from Arkansas.

Quick hits:

— Braylon Sanders is questionable with an hamstring injury. Sanders tweaked in the second quarter of the game at Memphis and did not return

— True freshman tackle Nick Broeker will see game snaps this week, Luke said. Ole Miss played six linemen in the loss to the Tigers: Five starters and Bryce Mathews. Four of the five starters played all 53 snaps, with the exception of right tackle Alex Givens, who is still feeling the lingering effects of a back procedure he endured on July 18. Givens was thought to be available in a limited role and provided more than the coaching staff thought. He played 37 plays and Mathews saw 17 snaps.

— Ole Miss will have its hands full with Arkansas tailback Rakeem Boyd. The junior had nine touches for 145 yards and a touchdown against the Rebels last season in Ole Miss’ win in Little Rock. Boyd makes up one half of a formidable one-two combination with Devwah Whaley. Boyd had 18 carries in the team’s 20-13 win over Portland State. Whaley toted the football nine times.

“Boyd is a really good back,” Luke said. “He can run through you, make you miss, just a solid back and Whaley is good too. We will have our hands full trying to stop them.”

— Freshman outside linebacker Luke Knox wasn’t talked about much in fall camp, primarily because he injured his hamstring in summer workouts and missed the first two weeks of fall camp. But Knox made an impact on Saturday with three tackles and saw more playing time than most forecasted. MacInytre thought Knox played well and  will continue to be in the rotation going forward.

“Luke had an excellent spring,” MacIntyre said. “He is athletic. He can run. He understands the game and has gotten bigger. I think he will be a good player out there on the edge with Sam Williams. He can tackle receivers and running backs in space. They are both big and athletic. We are going to need him.”

— Jerrion Ealy had four carries in the loss, a number that both Luke and Rodriguez is mostly a product than the long-yardage situations Ole Miss frequently put itself in, and one that will increase this week.

“He and a couple of other skill guys, we have to find a way to get them more touches,” Rodriguez said. “Jerrion has a lot of talent and is pretty sharp. He is learning quite a bit and his role is going to continue to increase.”

Snoop Conner, who only carried the ball once against Memphis, falls into this category as well.

— Rodriguez hopes the offensive line will settle into an eight-man rotation and noted that means a couple true freshmen — like Broeker, Jeremy James or Bryce Ramsey — are going to play significant snaps.

Kickoff on Saturday is slated for 6 P.M.


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