In the process of building depth no position needs it more than the offensive line, and no Ole Miss assistant has his work cut out for him more than Matt Luke.
Hugh Freeze also mentions wide receiver as a position of need, and Ole Miss is looking for depth there.
But at the end of the day there’s a good core group from which to start and a couple of signees that could contribute quickly plus a veteran like Collins Moore who had a good spring.
There are a lot of moving parts along the offensive line. There’s also some exciting potential, and Freeze at this point is pleased with the progress that he saw in spring with some younger, lesser known names, particularly at the center competition.
Those lesser known names – Ben Still who left spring as the No. 1 and Robert Conyers – will be key in exactly how much depth the group has. What goes on at the center position will determine the future for Justin Bell.
“Matt’s done a great job, and we didn’t have Aaron (Morris), and we didn’t have Christian (Morris),” Freeze said. “We’re playing quite a few walk-ons in the two deep, but I really have seen kids like Robert Conyers, Ben Still and Austin Golson, everybody knows about Laremy (Tunsil) and Justin Bell, but the Daronte Bouldins and Davion Johnsons …”
Freeze may not have Christian Morris, the UCLA transfer, this entire season. The school has applied for a waiver that would allow Morris – who should be recovered from an Achilles injury by late August or early September – to play immediately and not sit out the one season as mandated by the NCAA.
It would seem the waiver request would work out for Morris, because he transferred from UCLA before ever playing a game last season.
But you just never know in these cases.
The offensive line made strides this spring, and Freeze believes they will make strides through the summer and into August because of the confidence he has in Luke, himself a former Ole Miss offensive lineman.
“Those guys play hard for Matt because they love him. The want to play hard for him, and he’s a phenomenal offensive line coach. That’s why I hired him here. He’s a perfect fit for Ole Miss, and he’s helping develop those guys. We need some help there. Everybody that follows us knows that. “Hopefully we’ve got a couple coming, and we’ll get another class in here. They definitely got better this spring.”