It appears that Georgia has now found its new associate head coach and offensive line coach.
A mere 48 hours after Sam Pitman was announced as the new head coach at the University of Arkansas, Kirby Smart has tapped former Ole Miss head coach, offensive coordinator, and offensive line coach Matt Luke to front the UGA front five.
The 43 year old Gulfport, Mississippi native lettered four seasons (1995-98) as a center at Ole Miss, starting 33 games and serving as a team captain in 1998. His father, Tommy, played defensive back at Ole Miss in the 1960s while his brother, Tom, played quarterback for the Rebels from 1989 to 1991. Tom was also on Luke’s Ole Miss staff in a player development role.
Luke is a branch off the David Cutcliffe coaching tree, having played for Coach Cut at Ole Miss, then served as his offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at Duke and as recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach at Tennessee during Cutcliffe’s 2006-07 return to Knoxville as OC to Phil Fulmer. I will never forgive him for his role in Tennessee scoring 37 second half points in Sanford Stadium in 2006, nor for the 2007 steamrolling in Neyland. But hey, you turn your defense over Ron Willie Martinez and you get what you get I guess.
It was in his capacity at Duke that he recruited Georgia and made a big impression on future Bulldogs including Boss Andrews and Brandon Kublanow.
While we don’t know exactly what Luke’s involvement with offensive philosophy and game planning will be, he’s been a part of offenses for most of his career that prized balance but were willing to put it aside when personnel dictated.
Most recently Luke took over the Ole Miss program as interim head coach after Hugh Freeze left the place an NCAA-sanctioned mess and guided the Rebel Land Sharks to a 6-6 record in 2017 despite being elevated to his post a week before fall camp started. Luke’s main sin at Ole Miss appears to have been the gross miscalculation of coaching at Ole Miss at the same time that the school shared a division with Alabama, Auburn, and LSU. I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions about his offensive line coaching prowess from his head coaching record.
Luke isn’t Sam Pittman. The Pitt Boss was a larger than life personality and recruiter. But if he can stabilize the OL signing class and keep some of the four draft-eligible starters from the 2019 unit Luke will be off to a good start. Until later...