New Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze met with fans at a “Rebel Reunion” event in Jackson yesterday. His message was that of a man who’d just walked into a mess that will take plenty of time to clean up:
“Everyone should have one expectation and one only as we start this journey out of the wilderness and into the promised land, so to speak… That one expectation is that you should expect for us to compete passionately for 60 minutes for this great university, the University of Mississippi…
We ask for patience. We ask for you to rejoice with us in the great moments, and hurt with us in the difficult ones. There’ll be some of both. I promise you that. But the end result will be something we’ll all be very proud of and I look forward to that day where we can celebrate together.”
Patience. What a novel idea. Unfortunately, when it comes to millionaire football coaches in the SEC, there’s no such thing as patience. Freeze should phone up Joker Phillips at Kentucky or Derek Dooley at Tennessee to ask them about patience.
Phillips inherited a mid-level program — that he’d actually helped as an assistant to build to mid-level status — and in two seasons he’s snapped UK’s long losing streaks to Steve Spurrier and Tennessee. Yet he’s on the hot seat going into Year Three.
As for Dooley, with the exception of someone taking over a program firebombed by NCAA sanctions, it’s hard to imagine a coach stepping into a worse situation than the one he landed in the middle of at Tennessee. Two coaching changes and massive attrition in back-to-back years will do that. Yet if Dooley doesn’t win seven or eight games in his third year, there are many who believe the Vols will have a new head coach — no doubt asking for patience — this time next year.
Now, we’re not suggesting Freeze was wrong to ask for patience. We just know he won’t get more than a year of it. Maybe less. That’s life in the SEC.
(Sidenote — Rumor has it Freeze has been walking the streets at night. Just tryin’ to get it right…)