Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork explains why he responded to 'inaccurate' claims regarding Matt Luke, Rebel program
Many years ago, Steve Spurrier coined the phrase “talking season” for this specific time of the year. With the 2018 season well in the rearview mirror, there’s no real action going on in college football, leaving all of us to discuss, speculate and pontificate what will happen come the fall.
One of the more interesting comments to come out during this week of “talking season” originated from Mississippi radio host Bo Bounds during his most recent appearance on the “Paul Finebaum Show.”
During his appearance, Bounds shared his belief that the majority of the Ole Miss faithful were down on the Rebels at the moment and much of that apathy originated from the fact Matt Luke is currently the program’s head coach. While there’s no doubt Luke, a former Ole Miss walk-on lineman that went on to have a solid playing career in Oxford, has the passion necessary to win at a high level, it remains to be seen if he can coach the Rebels to success in the SEC.
According to Bounds, the majority of Ole Miss fans he interacts with aren’t ready to buy into the Luke era, which is going into Year 3 in Oxford.
“They are not buying Matt Luke as the guy to… they have got to start back somewhere, Paul, so they go to the Independence Bowl or the Music City Bowl or the Belk Bowl and I don’t believe 90 percent of their fan base thinks he can lead them there,” Bounds said during his appearance on the show. “He went from offensive line coach to head coach because of everything that went on off the field.
“I’m in Jackson, here we are with 500,00 people and it’s loaded with (Mississippi) State and Ole Miss people here and I don’t run across anybody that’s excited or believes that Matt Luke is going to take them back to a Gator Bowl or Music City Bowl or even a Belk Bowl level, much less higher than that.”
Following those comment from Bounds, Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork responded with comments of his own, tweeting out, “Biased & inaccurate take by a rival fan,” in regards to Bounds.
Given an opportunity to go a step further with his thoughts on the subject, Bjork was a recent guest of Birmingham-based WJOX 94.5 FM radio program “3 Man Front,” and offered up this comment when asked why he chose to say what he did on Twitter in response to Bounds.
“What was said, not only in that tweet that was quoted by the Finebaum Show, and I’m not holding Finebaum responsible, that’s more the productions people, what was said in that quote is inaccurate. It does not come from a credible source,” Bjork said on the show. “What (Bounds) also said during that whole segment about our football coach and our fans — just has no credibility. So when that happens, I think my job is to be a voice in that, and defend or fight back whatever phase you want to use.”
While Bjork has every right to defend the Ole Miss program, it is accurate to say attendance has been down in Oxford in recent seasons. Of course, during that time, the Rebels have been dealing with a two-year bowl ban which may have left fans somewhat disinterested in the less attractive home games on the schedule. In fairness to Ole Miss, football attendance has also been down across the nation, that national trend also likely resulted in small crowds last season in Oxford.
Now that Ole Miss is completely done with all the sanctions handed down by the NCAA, we’ll find out pretty quickly Rebel fans are on board with Luke moving forward. The administration clearly is, as not only the “3 Man Front” radio interview displayed but the big-game coordinators hires Ole Miss made this offseason to support the head coach in Oxford.