Winning Opportunity

So far, Hugh Freeze has mostly talked to Ole Miss people since he came on board last December as head football coach. Today that changes in a major way.

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Go back to day one when he was announced on Dec. 5 and the large pep rally/press conference in the Ford Center. Then follow that with gatherings from the one prior to the Ole Miss-Middle Tennessee State men's basketball game in Southaven to all the stops on the Rebel Road Trip 2012 and to Jackson just a few days ago.

Sure, there have been settings where there was more attention than just a Rebel Nation situation the past seven months. But nothing to approach SEC Media Days.

The Rebels are in the last hours of the last session in this three-day, 14-team event. More than 1,100 media members were reported to have been signed up for it. There probably won't be that many when the final comments are made later today. Some will have packed it in and headed home.

But the ones that do remain will hear Freeze talk about the rebuilding process of Ole Miss football. He will likely talk about the wilderness that Ole Miss football has been in lately. He will talk some about personnel, his coaching staff, his philosophy, and about the three players he brought – Donte Moncrief, Charles Sawyer, and Mike Marry.

He'll be asked about a lot of things concerning Ole Miss, the football program, the Southeastern Conference, and any number of topics pertaining to those. And then he will leave to head back to Oxford to continue preparations for not only the 2012 season but also future seasons for the Rebels.

Today is another important step on a long walk back for Ole Miss football. When the rankings come out from media members, Ole Miss will likely be picked seventh in the West and 14th overall, if there is an overall 1-14 ranking. But that's what a 2-10 season after a 4-8 season with only one conference win combined in those two years will do for a program.

The truth is Freeze had nothing to do with any of that. Nothing to do with the most losses in a single season in Ole Miss football history. Nothing to do with the fact that the Rebels are in that "wilderness" he has talked about for seven months.

Freeze has visited with Ole Miss fans on many occasions
Bruce Newman

But he willingly accepted the challenge of resurrecting the program, and now he will have to answer more questions concerning how he's going about it.

There'll likely be some questions about other things, but most of them will pertain to football – The Blind Side and Michael Oher, what he learned from coaching with Ed Orgeron, the Rebels playing the Memphis Tigers again, getting the Golden Egg back, plans for facilities upgrades and talent upgrades. You know he'll get asked about Steve Spurrier's remark about the Ole Miss football team.

Some of the questions will come from media that cover Ole Miss regularly. Some of them from the national media.

There will be answers to questions today. But, really, the future will hold the answers to the most important ones. The ones that will lead to more wins which lead to more postseason appearances that also result in job security for a coach. But some of that is getting too far ahead of ourselves.

Right now, not only for Freeze but also for Ross Bjork and the athletics department staff, it's still about rallying and uniting the fan base and selling season tickets. That's been the focus, along with recruiting, spring practice, the offseason work, and cleaning up some inhouse situations like academics, for seven months.

Seven long months. So much anticipation for just playing a game, which finally gets here on Sept. 1. Seven long months. If ever a program needed to focus on one day at a time, it is Ole Miss football in this era.

Win The Day, as Freeze has declared as his motto since arriving, is most appropriate.

He has another chance to do that among the mass of media from the south and beyond. There won't be a scoreboard, but Ole Miss can use a win today.

Freeze is set to do just that. And after that, another day to win on Friday. And Saturday. And beyond.

The road back continues.

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