Freeze Frame

HOOVER, Ala. -- It's a media free-for-all, these SEC Media Days. For a first-year coach, it can be an overwhelming experience. Certainly, Hugh Freeze has never experienced anything like it from a media standpoint, but the new Rebel coach held serve and didn't stub his toe.

Follow SpiritChuck on Twitter

Freeze had no idea what was about to hit him at SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Thursday, but he got his first dose and exposure to the media circus that is this annual event and handled it like a pro.

He ran the gauntlet of radio row, television alley and the big boy, the packed print room with nearly 400 reporters, and came out on the other end unscathed.

His maiden voyage at through this three-hour barrage was smooth sailing.

Freeze delivered his message of Ole Miss football with clarity and deftness, avoiding the pitfalls of putting one's foot in one's mouth, which can easily happen in that rapid-fire, trap-setting environment.

Make no mistake, the media at SEC Media Days is there to get something fresh and something juicy and they are adept at drawing that type of information out of a new, congenial, big-eyed, unsuspecting coach.

Freeze didn't bite. He didn't take the bait. He was calm, cool, collected and precise in his answers to questions intended to trap him.

He gave direct, honest answers without shooting himself in the foot or fanning any fires.

South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier stated earlier in the week that he would like to have Ole Miss as his permanent opponent in the West rather than LSU. His statement inflamed the Ole Miss faithful.

Naturally, Hugh was asked about it. Diplomatically, he said "we play USC in 2013 and we will do our best to change his (Spurrier's) perception of Ole Miss football."

He could have easily fired back at Spurrier with his own salvo, but he took the prudent route while at the same time defending his team and its future.

Hugh Freeze
Associated Press

Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen keeps fanning the flames of the importance of the Egg Bowl and their recent edge in the important series.

Freeze was asked about that and again he answered like a true diplomat, saying he understood the importance of the series. But right now, Mississippi State has the momentum. He intends to change it.

Hugh continued on his offseason theme of 2012 being a "journey out of the wilderness." He makes no bones about it - the program ventured into the dark side and now they have to find their way back to the light.

The journey out of the wilderness will include two or three ingredients, he told the media throng.

"It starts with a vow to Rebel Nation that we will compete passionately for 60 minutes every game," Freeze said. "Then, we will build on our core values, which is FAMILY = faith, attitude, mental toughness, integrity, love and YOU, it will take us all.

"Then, we have to instill in our young men the importance of personal accountability, where every action they take has an affect on the team and they will be held accountable."

In the end, the message was clear.

"I know where we are as a program. I get it. None of us - fans, coaches, players, administration - is pleased with where we are, but we are going to stick to our main theme of winning the day, playing hard and relying on our core values," he closed. "At the end of the day, we will live with what's on the scoreboard and keep pushing forward."

Freeze handled the media "mob" with ease. If he was nervous, he didn't show it and, for what it's worth, represented Ole Miss deftly.

"I had fun up there, I really did," he said. "Now, it's time to try to win some football games."

OM Spirit Top Stories