Meet The Media

Hugh Freeze met the media Monday, like he's done many times the past eight months since he was named head coach at Ole Miss. But this was different. This is game week.

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"Anytime you go through fall camp, week one (of practice) is usually very exciting and everybody's energetic," Freeze said. "Weeks two and three are absolute grinds, but week four is game week, and you see a little bounce in their step again. I saw that yesterday. I saw it Saturday night as we did our mock game. I'm very excited to get into this game week and start game prepping even more."

They'll likely bounce all week as only five days remain before kicking off the 2012 season – and the Hugh Freeze era – for the Rebels against Central Arkansas at 6 p.m. Saturday. One thing that made Freeze bounce a bit higher Monday was the fact that some injured players should return.

"We'll have some kids be back out there with us that we really need in Charles Sawyer and Wesley Pendleton, and hopefully Cliff Coleman. We're excited to get those guys back and see if they'll be able to function."

Freeze admitted he still isn't exactly sure where his team is at this point. And that's why playing a game should tell him more.

"I'm transparent," he said. "I don't know. I'm really encouraged with the progress we've made in attitude and effort, personal responsibility and accountability. We're making progress there. We're still not totally there in that regard either. Some days I feel like we may be better than I thought. Somedays I feel like we're going to be worse than I thought. The reality is until you play in a game, you're guess is probably better than mine. You've seen these young men go through it. That's as straight as I can put it. So I really don't know, but I'm excited to find out.

Charles Sawyer
Chuck Rounsaville

"I like the vibes I'm getting from our kids this week. But until we go out there and actually line up against someone else and make the adjustments we've got to make and see how our kids perform when things do not go well, which happens in football and how you handle those things. What's the leadership of our team going to do when something doesn't go our way? I'm really curious to see how we do and excited to find out."

One thing he does know for sure, and that is this week and especially Saturday will be special.

"We're really excited about game week," Freeze said. "We can't wait for Saturday to see what our kids have."

Freeze Frames -

On naming a starting quarterback and the depth chart: "Probably decide somewhere around Wednesday at some point who's going take the first series. To me, going into game one, they're kind of co-ones. I don't get caught up into depth charts anyway really. I want to know who can play. Who rolls out there the first series, I don't get too hung up with. I think the kids care about that some and that matters to them. But at the end of the day, if they made plays for our football team, they'll be happy. And so will the coaches."

On the depth chart at running back being "crowded" a bit: "It kind of depends on the tempo we're into, how much we're able to do with that. That wears them out more and (one player) can't probably go more than five or six plays consectuively if we're in that mode. I expect for four (Randall Mackey), I'Tavious (Mathers), Jaylen (Walton) to all get carries, and if Jeff (Scott) is healthy, he will be in that mix. I look for four of them to get action and to get carries. At least four."

On his defensive line rotation: "I think earlyon in these games you're going to see a rotation of about six guys, with Issac (Gross) and Carlton (Martin) and (Bryon) Bennett, Uriah (Grant) and Woody (Hamilton) and (Gilbert) Pena. So I think you'll see all those guys in these early games. We'll see how that shakes out after we play a few games."

On Cody Prewitt: "Coming out of spring, I was really concerned about Cody. Cody's the kind of kid that really doesn't tell you everything. He went through all spring with a high ankle sprain. He's a different guy in fall camp. Really pleased with the type of kid he is. Talk about buying in, Cody Prewitt has bought in. I'm sure he bought in with the last staff too. He's that type of kid. He represents Ole Miss extremely well."

C.J. Johnson
Chuck Rounsaville

On Jamal Mosley's status: "I have not (made a decision yet). We'll continue to evaluate him just like the others. He's done everything we've asked to this point. But I'm not going to jump the gun on it."

On tempo and the team being ready for that tempo and playing fast: "We talked about that Saturday night after the mock game. We're not as fast as we want to be, but we're better than we were in the spring."

On Central Arkansas: "Very well coached. I played them last year. Very familiar with them. That was a big rival game last year. It's one the people of Arkansas had looked forward to a long time. I knew we'd see great effort from his kids. They have quality players. They're a little unknown because I see some different people on their depth chart. (On offense) they're similar to us. Defensively they play a 4-2-5 also."

On C.J. Johnson: "I think he's our best player. We need to keep him healthy. I expect him to be a major factor in our pass rush schemes. Wish he were a little heavier. That will take a toll on his body probably as the stretch run goes on. We've got to hopefully get him a little bigger and be smart when we use him. But couldn't be more pleased with the way he's bought in and the way he's practiced up to this point."

On Randall Mackey and his move up: "Consistency. Toughness. Competitive spirit. He's got all those things. I said when I got here I thought he could be a special player if he got his act together off the field primarily. He seems to have done that to this point. I'm cautiously optimistic that will continue. He's one of my favorite kids on the team. I think he feels he's got something to prove. Looking forward to seeing him in action."

On how much he expects to get out of Sawyer, Pendleton, and Coleman: "It's too early. Tomorrow will be their first day out there. Not sure if Cliff will go or not yet. The other two are schedule to be let loose. We'll see how they perform and see how they feel Wednesday after going through a practice. That will tell us a lot."

On Jeff Scott: "If he's not taking reps by Wednesday, his time will be very limited (in game one)."

On the team needing to have some success early this season: "I would never say it's do or die. Anytime you put that statement out in front of your kids, that's not good. This is a process. It's going to take patience. It's not going to be cured overnight. The confidence gained from success, there's nothing like it. It would expedite our journey, absolutely, and the process. It's still about the process, win or lose."

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