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Ole Miss hires Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick to coach wide receivers

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Replacing Grant Heard will be a tall task, but hiring Lubick is an outstanding start.

NCAA Football: Oregon Spring Game Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

After Ole Miss canned offensive coordinator Dan Werner three weeks ago, we listed Matt Lubick as one of the top replacement options. Lubick, who spent the previous two seasons running Oregon’s offense, was the type of big-name hire Rebels fans were clamoring for and was on the market after Mark Helfrich’s forced exodus from Eugene. Lubick even had an Ole Miss connection, having coached wide receivers for Ed Orgeron in 2005 and 2006. But Freeze instead hired longtime FCS guru Phil Longo, a move generally accepted as intriguing but risky.

It sounds like Lubick is joining Freeze’s staff anyway. Ben Garrett of the Ole Miss Spirit is reporting that Lubick will return to Oxford to resume his old position as receivers coach, a home run hire for a program faced with the tall task of replacing longtime receivers coach Grant Heard.

It’s Freeze’s second hire in as many days—it was reported on Wednesday that former LSU assistant Bradley Dale Peveto will be the Rebels’ new linebackers coach.

After leaving Ole Miss in 2006, Lubick spent three seasons coaching defensive backs at Arizona and two more coaching receivers for David Cutcliffe at Duke, where he won Wide Receivers Coach of the Year in 2012. His big break came in 2013 when Helfrich hired him as a passing game coordinator and receivers coach at Oregon. Over the next three seasons, Lubick’s air attack ranked fourth, first and 10th in yards per passing attempt and buoyed quarterback Marcus Mariota to a Heisman Trophy.

That earned Lubick a promotion to offensive coordinator in 2016, and while the Ducks limped to a 4-8 finish this season, that had a lot more to do with the defense than it did with Lubick’s offense, which ranks top-30 nationally in offensive efficiency and points per game.

Freeze confirmed last week that Heard, who built one of the SEC’s most consistently formidable receiving corps during his five years in Oxford, is leaving the program. Though there’s been no official announcement, it’s been widely reported that Heard plans to join former Ole Miss colleague Tom Allen at Indiana, where he’ll serve as the passing game coordinator.

Heard helped send three of his wideouts to the pros, his most notable students being 2014 third-round selection Donte Moncrief and 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell. His most impressive work, however, came with the development of former two-star Cody Core, who began his Ole Miss career as a defensive back and special teamer before Heard helped mold him into a sixth-round pick by the Bengals. Damore’ea Stringfellow, who declared for the 2017 draft three weeks ago, will likely join that trio in April.

Heard was a beast on the recruiting trail the last two years, helping stock Freeze’s cupboard with four-stars DaMarkus Lodge, Van Jefferson, A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Tre Nixon and Markell Pack. That’s all Lubick will inherit when he arrives in Oxford. Not bad.