Miles To Go Before He Sleeps

Newly-named Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork is in the same place in his new job that Hugh Freeze is with the Rebel football program. Read about it inside.

A Message from Ross Bjork from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.

For the first time in what seems like forever, the bulk of Ole Miss fans seem happy and excited about the future.

It's warranted.

Hiring a new football coach and a new athletics director have instantly rejuvenated many who had grown weary, lethargic, skeptical and cynical of the status quo that had become Ole Miss athletics.

Those sentiments have been replaced by hope, excitement and rapid unification to get behind something collectively.

I applaud that enthusiasm and overnight togetherness. It's long overdue. Our divided fan base, regardless of the reasons, has been a big detriment to our advancement as an athletics program.

There is no reason why we, as a fan base, cannot get shoulder to shoulder with Ross Bjork and Hugh Freeze and march lockstep toward the common goal of improvement and success.

But my own personal happiness and excitement is tempered by the reality of the situation they are inheriting.

As much faith and confidence as I have in what is happening now with the new "players" that have been hired with the task of reviving Ole Miss athletics/football, I am obligated to throw a little bit of cold water and caution on the big picture.

Our problems and issues were not created in a day and they will not be solved in a day.

Neither Bjork nor Freeze have a magic wand or a time machine to advance us a couple of years down the road.

To quote Robert Frost, they have miles to go before they sleep.

It's well-documented what Freeze has to overcome, but for a refresher course, there are issues in academics, discipline and work ethic, not to mention a need to restock the talent pool on the team.

His task is monumental and will require support from many angles - the chancellor, the AD and the fan base.

Bjork's task, while maybe not as visible, will be just as daunting.

He's got to revamp the whole athletic department into a leaner and meaner machine, which will also take countless hours of effort, time and patience.

The expectation that he will come on the scene with a heavy sword immediately isn't realistic.

He will have to survey the landscape, evaluate personnel and develop a plan of action, all three major undertakings.

The point of all this is simple.

We are at a crossroads with Ole Miss athletics, ushering out the "old" and bringing in the new.

We have a right to be excited about the journey ahead, but we need to temper our giddiness to the reality of what lies ahead.

Change is not instant or easy. Neither is getting where we want and need to be.

My plea to all Ole Miss fans is to not only get on board with the new regime, but to stay on board.

There will be decisions made you will not agree with. There will be times when you scratch your head and wonder why.

There will probably be times when you will see our recent partner - anger and disgust - rear their ugly heads, but if you truly believe - as I do - that we are now headed in the right direction, there will be times when you will need to bite your tongue, lock arms with your fellow Rebels and stay the course.

The hiring of Bjork and Freeze, it says here, are significant steps in changing things for the better in Ole Miss athletics. My heart and head both tell me that.

But picking the right generals does not necessarily mean winning the war. The troops have to be willing to fight as well.

In good conscience, we cannot put all of this at the feet of Bjork and Freeze. We all have a duty to support them and believe in their leadership.

Are you all in?

Without you, we will be talking about another "new beginning" in a few short years. That is the harsh truth.

Now is the time to get on board, enter the fray and scrap like there is no tomorrow.

Because without all of us, there isn't one.

I'm all in.

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