Ole Miss 23 Ark 21
Ole Miss 31 LSU 13
Ole Miss 30 Ark 17
Ole Miss 25 LSU 23
Ole Miss 24 Ark 38
ole Miss 36 LSU 43
New Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze is about to makes his big debut at SEC Media Days. Will have a dear in the headlights look or will be cool, calm and collected? (Or as cliched as that last sentence?)
We’re about to find out…
* Freeze opened by saying he realizes he’s taken an unusual route to his job.
* The coach said no one is happy about UM’s current state and that his players appear ready to accept some personal accountability to help lead Ole Miss “out of the wilderness.”
* The coach played up Oxford as a recruiting tool, noting that it was recently named as the #1 college town in America.
* Freeze said he’ll circle the 2013 date when South Carolina comes to UM… since Steve Spurrier said Tuesday that if he made the SEC schedule, he’d play Ole Miss and Georgia would play LSU.
* Freeze credited Dan Mullen and his staff for doing well in the Egg Bowl, but he made it clear that he understands what that rivalry game means.
* Asked about the academic woes he inherited at Ole Miss — about 40 kids in academic danger when he arrived — Freeze said some changes needed to be made. He says “for whatever reason personal accountability” was lost in the final semester under Houston Nutt (though he didn’t mention Nutt by name).
* Freeze wants to be up-tempo, but he doesn’t feel he can do that 100% of the time in Year One due to a lack of depth on defense.
* The coach says he’s not worried about sending a negative message to his players, stating that they know the situation. He says about 60% of his team has bought into his plan for fixing the program and he needs “to get to about 80% to have a fighting chance.” He said he hopes to get to 80% by the start of the season.
* Freeze is very calm. Reminiscent of James Franklin’s first Media Days session last year. Freeze isn’t awestruck by all the cameras in his face. Very, very impressive for a guy who was coaching high school ball in 2004.
* Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace will be competitors for the starting quarterback job and Freeze says that competition could go into the early season.
* The coach said safety Charles Sawyer is a “maniac” in the workout room.
* Freeze said he needs more leaders on offense, though he’s happy with what he has on his defense.
* Asked to compare the talent at Arkansas State last year to Ole Miss this year, Freeze simply talked up his ASU team. He said his team was “deeper” at some spots.
* Freeze made it clear that naming guys as “co-coordinators” is just a name thing done to help his guys move up in their careers. There are clear men in charge and clear #2-type guys.
* Freeze says he considers Memphis “to be in-state for us.” He says that playing at Memphis saves him money — through busing as opposed to flying — that he can add to his recruiting budget.
* Freeze also pointed out that Ole Miss went 2-2 with Arkansas and LSU that last four years. (Correction on my point… I’d initially typed 2-2 in two years, but Freeze said 2-2 in four years, meaning 2-2 against both schools.) His point being that a little “personal accountability” — he’s big on that, obviously — can make a difference.
Our overall grade for Freeze’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 5. It’s easy to see what Archie Manning and the Ole Miss search committee liked about Freeze. From his drawl to his demeanor to his confidence, he looks like more of a fit for UM than, say, Mike Leach — the man he’ll forever be compared to because that’s who Ole Miss could have hired. Now, if he can only turn the Rebels’ program around.