The 2019 edition of Ole Miss football launched late last week, mercifully not requiring fan excitement to get started but only the turning of the calendar. On Thursday, Matt Luke addressed the assembled media horde to talk about his team and whether he was excited* to get started in the third year of his first year as head coach.
*Spoiler: He was!
Outside of never tweeting his opinions or birthday wishes, one of Luke’s biggest strengths as a head coach is talking to the media and being perfectly bland. He will give statements and answer questions, but you could probably find a coach-speak generator on the internet dot com capable of producing words that are interchangeable with his.
I, for one, salute this skill, because after five years of a head coach who lived to hear his own voice and tell @DAWGBallerRebHater69 to have a #blessed day on Twitter, I love (LOVE) the nothingness. I would even encourage him to channel Rasheed Wallace every time he sets up shop at the podium:
Which brings us to the point of today’s exercise in power rankings. I give you the inaugural Matt Luke Fall Camp Coach-Speak Phrases Power Rankings.
Settle in for some quotes (with little to no context) that are guaranteed to keep your blood pressure at a steady 120/80.
(1) “I’m excited. I’m thrilled.”
Translation: “You have requested that I talk about the season opener being 30 days away. I assume this is what everyone wants to hear.”
(2) “There’s a lot of excitement in this building and excitement to get started.”
DOUBLE EXCITEMENT, FAM.
If I were consulting, and I am not, I would encourage just one excitement. One excitement implies Birmingham Bowl MAYBE, while two implies some 8-4 fever dream.
(3) “You can feel the energy in the building and the looks on the kid’s faces.”
Though it means nothing, Matt Luke knows what the Ole Miss Spirit wants to hear.
Unrelated, here’s the last original tweet from Matt Luke:
Luke could be gone from Ole Miss in 2020 (LOL), 2021, or 2055. Whatever happens, I want the school to build a statue of him giving his phone to an intern to do the tweeting.
(4) “Guys are hungry and they want to come in and prove themselves.”
OH THAT’S THE GOOD STUFF OF NOTHINGNESS.
(5) “There’s going to be a lot of competition there.”
Translation: “Pls, sweet little tiny baby Jesus, let us find someone who can at least play 50 snaps a game there.”
(6) “There’s going to be competition at every single position.”
A stronger case for cashing that Under 5.5 wins ticket you shall not find.
(7) “He can do a lot of different things.”
Translation: “But not one thing well!”
Related, when you’re trying to calculate how many different things he can do:
(8) “It’s just going out there, doing it, and building that confidence.”
In this quote, Luke was talking about getting true freshmen offensive linemen ready to play in the SEC. While it’s a neutral way of filling space instead of saying, “they’re going to get their heads kicked in the majority of the time”, the fact that this is up for discussion is another reminder to hang on to that Under 5.5 wins ticket.
(9) “It is a challenge, especially in this league though.”
FUN FACT: Every SEC coach, in all sports, is contractually obligated to mention how hard life is in the SEC during every instance of public speaking.
(10) “When you sign a JUCO player, you’re expecting him to come in there and contribute.”
OH, GRASSHOPPER. Have you forgotten the tales of woe as they relate to Ole Miss’ success depending on JUCO players? In short*, NOT GREAT, BOB.
*Recent exceptions to the years of pain include, but are not limited to: Dr. Bo, SWAG, Scottie Phillips, and Fahn Cooper.