Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke said last week at SEC Media Days that the goal for his team this season is a return to the postseason.
His players left no mistaking the fact that they want to achieve that goal, too. The Rebels, due to NCAA sanctions, are eligible to participate in a bowl game for th first time since the 2016 season this fall. The only thing standing in their way is reaching six victories.
“There’s a lot of guys that haven’t been to a bowl game," said junior linebacker Mohamed Sanogo, who can count himself among that number. "The seniors this year, they have never been to a bowl game, and we can’t sit right with that. I can’t sit right with that. I want to be able to experience that. I want to be one of those top 25 teams in the country. What you want doesn’t get you anywhere, it is what you do to get what you want. So we are trying to put in the hard work to be where we want to be and where we see ourselves.”
Sanogo described a summertime off-season for the Rebels that has had an increase in intensity over his first two summers in Oxford.
“I think our work ethic this summer has been exceptional," he shared, "especially compared to the last two summers I’ve been here. Everybody just has a different mindset, whether that has to do with just being tired of the current state or has to do with the bowl ban being lifted and now having that little extra thing to play for. It has definitely been a culture change shifting more towards hard work.”
Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Corral also issued this warning: "“We are all coming in with that chip on our shoulders, because everyone is saying that we are young and inexperienced. I feel like we are going to surprise a lot of people this year.”
Ole Miss was picked to finish sixth in the seven-team SEC Western Division by the SEC media.
While there still hasn't been an official announcement on when the Rebels will open fall camp, we're hearing report day will be Thurs., Aug. 1, with the first scheduled practice set for Fri., Aug. 2. That likely means media day for the team will fall on that Thursday, though no announcement has come forth.
About 40 Ole Miss players took part in the annual women's football forum inside the Manning Center on Saturday. It was attended by approximately 200 female football fans. Attendees went through simulated practice sessions, attended simulated position meetings, heard talks from head coach Matt Luke and coordinators Rich Rodriguez and Mike MacIntyre but most importantly got to spend the day with their favorite Ole Miss football players.
The line for the Ole Miss/Memphis game is holding steady between six and six and a half points in favor of the Tigers. Admittedly, we're a little surprised that gap hasn't closed much, if any, over the last 30 days. We still think it shrinks down to maybe even a pick 'em before the game gets here on Aug. 31.
Nevertheless, it has perhaps provided the Rebels with a little bit more motivation, as quarter Matt Corral and linebacker Mohamed Sanogo each said they have reminders of their underdog status against Memphis posted in their lockers. We're sure they're not alone.