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WOW Headlines 8/14/12

ESPN is reporting that Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel signed his name more than 4,400 times during six sessions for three autograph-brokers…
The NCAA is investigating to see if Manziel or anyone representing Manziel was paid or asked for payment in exchange for the autographs
Auburn QB Kiehl Frazier has been moved to S by head coach Gus Malzahn
The NCAA is looking into Ole Miss’ football recruiting, but head coach Hugh Freeze said “I’m confident in the way that we go about things.”
Florida RB Matt Jones is still out of practice with a viral infection
Tennessee CB Riyahd Jones was injured at practice yesterday, leaving the Vols very thin at defensive back
Juco CB Nate Willis has been cleared academically to play at Kentucky this season
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UM’s Freeze Calls Out QB Wallace For Reads

gfx - they said itThe man who made the Ole Miss offense go — and go quickly — last season was quarterback Bo Wallace.  Unfortunately, all that go-ing also led to turnovers.

According to head coach Hugh Freeze, Wallace has picked up where he left off last year… making poor reads and poor decisions and turning the ball over.  Freeze is not what you’d call pleased:


“We’re not good enough and deep enough to turn it over and expect to win.  We have to find an answer to it, one way or another…

I’m sure hoping at some point we can mature and just because you go through your progression, when you get to that third one it doesn’t mean that you have to throw it to that third one if they’re covered.  That’s what happened a couple of times (yesterday).”


Wallace ranked fifth in the SEC in total offense last season accounting for 260 yards per game.  He rushed for 390 yards on the season and passed for 2,994.  That’s the good part.

The bad part is that he tossed a league-leading 17 interceptions last year.

At the dawn of a new season, it sounds like Freeze is already running out of patience with his starting quarterback.

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Ole Miss Wide Receiver Vince Sanders Breaks Collarbone; Out Six To Eight Weeks

Vince Sanders Ole MissOle Miss redshirt junior Vince Sanders broke his collarbone Saturday and is likely out six to eight weeks.  That timeline means Sanders will miss the opener against Vanderbilt and could potentially miss the Texas game two weeks later.

Sanders was tackled in a one-on-one drill and had to be escorted off the field.  Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was not happy.

“That’s ruined my whole day, when you see us do a foolish thing. In one-on-ones taking one of your teammates to the ground is never a good thing.”

Sanders was second on the team last season with 504 receiving yards.  He caught 39 passes with four touchdowns. He will have surgery Tuesday.

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Stoops Isn’t Trying To Temper Expectations At Kentucky

KENTUCKY MEDIA DAYSYesterday, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze attempted to calm expectations for his second team just a bit.  Kentucky’s Mark Stoops took a different approach today:


“It’s not my style really to try to temper those expectations.  I think the educated fan knows where we’re at as a program and knows that we’ve got a lot of work to do.

The flipside to that is I want the excitement.  I want ‘em there.  I want them to support the team we have right now.  I want ‘em at all of our home games.

We plan on going out and competing every single week.  We understand the challenges are there.  But I’m glad the fans are excited and I’m glad they’re showing up in large numbers and our season tickets are up and people are excited and anticipating a good year.”


Fair enough.

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USC’s Spurrier Gets Yuks Talking About UM’s Freeze

laughing-smiley-faceLast year, Steve Spurrier upset Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze by saying that if he made out the SEC schedule, Georgia would have gotten LSU and South Carolina would have played Ole Miss.  Obviously, Ole Miss wound up improving to 7-6 in 2012.  And sometime between last year’s Media Days event and this year’s, Spurrier and Freeze have become pals.

Earlier today, Freeze said that he started wearing a visor as a high school coach to emulate Spurrier.  When asked about that — and about his comment a year ago that he’d have rather played Ole Miss — Spurrier aw-shucksed his way into some pretty big laughs:


“Well, last year at this time Ole Miss was 2-10.  (Laughs.)  They had a good year.  Hugh Freeze has done an excellent job there.  Naw, Hugh and I have a lot in common.  We both play golf, we both wear visors (more laughs), and we call the plays.  How can you not like a guy like Hugh Freeze.

You never know what team (that) was bad one year gets it going the next year.”


That last line is pretty ironic considering Spurrier complains so often about the league’s scheduling format.

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Freeze Downplays Talk Of Up-Tempo Offenses Causing Injuries

stop-watchAlabama’s Nick Saban and a number of other defensive-minded coaches have spent the last couple of years talking about the “dangers” of up-tempo offenses in college football.  According to the D-first guys, the lack of substitutions wears down defensive players and since most injuries supposedly occur when players are tired, well, you get the gist.  Hurry-up offenses lead to more injuries.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was asked about that point today and his response was pretty clear: There’s never been any study that he’s aware of that suggests any such thing.  Freeze’s reply shouldn’t surprise anyone — he runs an up-tempo system in Oxford.

Still, the ongoing back and forth between offensive and defensive coaches over the safety of hurry-up offenses has gotten to the point that some school or conference should commission a study on the issue.

As a matter of fact, you would think that one of those defensive-minded coaches would have already headed over to his school’s math department and asked some student to watch a little film and do a little ciphering.  Our guess?  Someone already has and the results weren’t what that coach had hoped to find.


(UPDATE – Stewart Mandel tackled this subject last week.  Several researchers do believe it makes sense that hurry-up offenses might lead to more injuries, but as one stated in Mandel’s piece: “We don’t have quantifiable data to support” those claims.  Time for someone to get that quantifiable data before we’re forced to spend several more seasons listening to offensive- and defensive-minded coaches argue over whether or not hurry-up systems are more dangerous than regular offenses.)

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Freeze Shoots Straight About Unrealistic Expectations In Oxford

OLE MISS MEDIA DAYSIf you’re wondering how the rather plain Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze manages to thrive as a recruiter, listening to the man for just a couple of minutes will provide the answer.  Freeze comes across as an honest, common sense type of guy.  Try this matter-of-fact remark on for size:


“The expectations that are coming now with our program, I’m very careful.  I told every group that I went to this spring and I tell our team quite often that unrealistic expectations always produce frustration… 

So our task in Year Two is to maintain the enthusiasm and energy from both our fans and our players and everyone that is involved in our program as we continue to strive to be relevant in the SEC West.”


Authentic, straight-forward.  The coach didn’t dodge the fact that his program still needs to grow just to be “relevant” inside its own division.  Also, Freeze was wise to try and cap fans’ hopes for the upcoming season, but he did so in a way that was very much believable.

Freeze isn’t an exciting speaker but he comes across as genuine.  No doubt that’s what’s helped him in living rooms across the South in recent months.

You can watch video of Freeze being interviewed at SEC Media Days here.

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Freeze Has A Little Fun With Muschamp

laughing-smiley-faceOle Miss head coach Hugh Freeze apparently witnessed the main media room performance of Florida’s Will Muschamp.  He must’ve also come to the same conclusion that we did:


“I was listening to my friend Will Muschamp up here.  I was going to try to do this with less breaths than he took but that’s impossible.”


Good line.  And he’s right.

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Ole Miss Lineman Park Stevens Dies In Car Accident

mrsec-breaking-newsOle Miss sophomore Park Stevens died Wednesday afternoon after his pickup collided with the rear of an 18-wheeler.  According to a Mississippi State Highway Patrolman, “the driver of the pickup was killed on impact.”

Stevens had joined Ole Miss in the spring of 2013 as a walk-on.  He had transferred to Ole Miss after spending two seasons at East Central Community College.

“Our team is hurting tonight with the loss of Park,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement Wednesday night. “He was a tremendous young man that was loved by his teammates and coaches, and Rebel Nation will never forget him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Stevens family, his friends, our team and all those he touched during his life.”

The Oxford Eagle says it’s the second deadly accident to occur at a particular intersection this summer.

Update: Stevens was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

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SEC Coaches Debate The “Dangers” Of Hurry-Up Offenses

slow-downLast season, Alabama’s Nick Saban was the first coach — at least the first to get national media coverage — to suggest that the trend of up-tempo offenses in college football could be dangerous.  Yes, dangerous.

Well, Saban now has some company.  Arkansas coach Bret Bielema recently proposed a rule change that would create “a 15-second substitution period” that would allow defenses time to make substitutions.  According to the new Razorbacks coach:


“Not to get on the coattails of some of the other coaches, there is a lot of truth that the way offensive philosophies are driven now, there’s times where you can’t get a defensive substitution in for eight-, 10-, 12-play drives.  That has an effect on safety of that student-athlete, especially the bigger defensive linemen, that is really real.”


Naturally, coaches who run frenetic, no-huddle offenses see things just a bit differently.  Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, for example, pointed out to that “offensive players a playing, too, the same number of snaps… are they in danger also?”

Several conferences have taken it upon themselves to conduct studies on player safety in recent years, specifically in the area of helmet-first collisions.  If enough defensive-minded coaches speak out, perhaps a conference or two will investigate to see if there really are any connections between hurry-up offenses and injuries.

Our guess is that they wouldn’t find anything conclusive.  This smells more like a ploy by defense-first coaches who don’t like the advantage offenses now hold.  That said, it can’t hurt for the SEC or another league or the NCAA to look into the matter.

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