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Reports: Phil Longo leaving Ole Miss for UNC

Ole Miss has already been through one major coaching change this offseason. Now they will be replacing both coordinators, as Phil Longo will be leaving the Rebels. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman, as well as a handful of other outlets, is reporting that the former Ole Miss offensive coordinator will be making the move to North Carolina to assume the same job title.

Originally hired by former head coach Hugh Freeze, Longo has been with Ole Miss only two seasons. His departure amplifies what became a lost season for Ole Miss, and what has been an offseason of turmoil. Defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff was let go of following the Egg Bowl. Now, only one day after the school confirms the hire of Mike MacIntyre to fill the defensive coordinator void, they will be in search of a new offensive coordinator.

Longo had been linked to a few, low-level head coaching openings at Texas State and later UMass. He got neither job. Now, he will be joining a new coaching staff at North Carolina led by former Texas head coach Mack Brown. Before his fifteen-year stint with Texas, in which he led the team to two national championships, winning one, Brown was head coach at UNC from 1988 to 1997.

While at Ole Miss, Longo’s offense was both explosive and problematic, often at the same time. The team finished ninth nationally in yards, putting up over 500 yards of offense a game. However, they struggled tremendously in the red-zone, tying Syracuse for the most red-zone field goals of any power-five team.

The offense came under fire recently in NFL scouting circles when A.J. Brown said in an interview that they have a play simply called “get open,” in which there was no structure or route concepts whatsoever. The lack of a diverse route tree was certainly part of the red-zone struggles. When the field shrinks, you can’t run the vertical routes that the offense is built around.

With the start of the early recruiting signing window right around the corner, Matt Luke must move fast to fill the void left by Longo. Ultimately, his departure should not come as much of a surprise. Luke should have a good idea what direction the team will move in offensively in wake of Longo’s departure.