I have to be honest. I don’t know nearly as much about new Bulldog Associate Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke as I should. Fortunately, I know a guy. A guy who knows the guy.
That guy (the one who knows Matt Luke, not Luke himself, who is “the guy”, got it?) is Judge Bunkie Elihu Perkins. A bon vivant, college sports enthusiast, celebrated writer, sword swallower, and Ole Miss insider, Bunkie is the person you talk to when you need to know just how thready the pulse of Rebel Nation is at any given moment. Also, Bunkie may not be his real name. But I digress.
Professor Perkins has followed Matt Luke closely throughout his time in Oxford, and if anyone knows what we’re getting into by hiring Luke, it’s him.
Governor Perkins agreed to answer a few off-the-cuff questions about Matt Luke, his tenure at the helm of his alma mater, and what he may do well (or not) in Athens. My questions and his responses are faithfully reproduced below.
MD: Let’s get this out of the way. Would you turn your offensive line over to Matt Luke? If your answer is a qualified yes as opposed to an unqualified one, what stipulations would you give him?
Bunkie: Matt Luke is a competent offensive line coach. Is he the best one? Meh, probably not, but he has a proven recruiting track record (Laremy Tunsil? Georgia fans may vaguely recall his recruitment), and Greg Little would be his most recent bell cows. He’s been a line coach under both David Cutcliffe and Hugh Freeze and has proven to be more competent at that than at being a head coach. Very reassuring!
MD: One of the selling points for Bulldog fans (including from former Bulldog players he recruited at Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Duke) is that Luke is a great recruiter. How accurate would you say that reputation is?
Bunkie: Like I mentioned, he’s landed some big fish, but I think his best talent is in his ability to recognize potential SEC linemen in the 3 star to 4 star range. Some of Ole Miss’ best linemen over the years have come out of that kind of talent identification. The kids also love him. There was some consternation from the team when he was fired because they genuinely love the guy. He’s very much a “player’s coach”.
MD: How much did the Egg Bowl loss this year have to do with Luke’s ouster at Ole Miss? Is it possible his extension just weeks prior was Ole Miss folks taking care of one of their own on the way out, or was he a legitimate threat to return in 2020 prior to the whizz heard round the world?
Bunkie: It wasn’t THAT big of a deciding factor, despite what our rival to the immediate east would have you believe. Luke was hired in a tumultuous time for the program thanks to NCAA sanctions. His job was to keep the boat from sinking, which he did through recruiting, especially his most recent class (3 All-Freshman selections).
He got overpaid to some extent because of the circumstances in the program at the time plus the guy is a 3rd generation Ole Miss football player and a member of the most influential Ole Miss football family not named Manning. He was never a long term answer. His win total decreased each of his 3 years and the only reason he was considered to have a longer leash was because the university leadership was in flux. Once a new Chancellor and AD were named, they moved quickly and thus you now have Lane Kiffin in Oxford rather than Matt Luke.
MD: Are there any Ole Miss players or staffers you think he might try to bring to Athens with him?
Bunkie: I kind of doubt it unless Georgia loses/runs off some staff in the offseason. He actually had a pretty decent staff so even without attrition I could maybe see someone like Tyler Siskey (recruiting coordinator) maybe getting a look.
MD: If you were given only one sentence to explain to Georgia fans what they’re getting in Matt Luke, what would it be
Bunkie: Matt Luke is an extremely good guy who is an above average recruiter and a serviceable offensive line coach.
Well, that’s a ringing endorsement if ever there was one.
Thanks again to Bunkie for his thoughtful answers on all things Luke-ocentric. Be sure to follow him on Twitter at @BunkiePerkins for all your Ole Miss snark/pictures of Lane Kiffin meeting with questionable characters.
I’m sure Lane and Hugh were just having bible study pic.twitter.com/a65KyyZqDZ— Interim Bunkie Perkins (@BunkiePerkins) December 11, 2019