High Standards

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze called Tuesday's practice "sluggish," but then he said some of that could be him and the high standards he has set for this week.

After every practice, normally the first question asked for Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze is how that workout went.

"We were a little sluggish. The attitude was good, but this week is so different, guys being out of their normal routine," he explained after Tuesday's morning practice that ended around noon. "I think it (practicing early) is the right thing to do to give them more treatment time and rest.

"A lot of it could be me, I confess. I want everything to be perfect and when it's not I probably overreacted a little bit and let it affect the way things were going. It ended up being a good day, but it was just a little slow getting started for me."

Question number two, at least the last two or three weeks, has always centered around the health of the team.

C.J. Johnson
File Photo

"We've got a lot of banged up bodies. C.J. Johnson looked OK and he will play for sure. Charles (Sawyer) is questionable," Freeze noted. "Jamal (Mosley) practiced today and he'll go. Wesley (Pendleton) practiced today and he will go. He looked OK in the skelly drill.

"Everybody is going to try to go, but who will be effective we won't know until later in the week."

The Rebels, Freeze also exposed, have some sickness as well.

"Randall Mackey has that flu-like stuff and he didn't practice today. So far, the rest of them that are sick are scout teamers. Hopefully that stuff will pass pretty quickly," he continued. "He was throwing up last night and this morning so we held him out."

The Rebs will practice as a full squad Wednesday, but he is going to let the scout team go for Thanksgiving tomorrow afternoon.

"We will be down to our dress squad and will practice good-against-good Thursday," he allowed.

The post-practice interview shifted gears to Hugh's hiring of Defensive Coordinator Dave Wommack when Freeze was named head coach at Arkansas State.

"I took my time making sure. People I trust like Gus Malazahn and John Thompson, knew him personally and they couldn't say enough good things about him," said Freeze. "After meeting with Dave twice and dozens of phone calls, I came to a peace that he was a good fit for me.

"It was about a month process. One reason it took so long is that I know myself and I know what I am going to pay attention to. DC was a critical hire for me. That and a strength coach. I took forever to hire a strength coach here, but I knew I had to get it right. Dave was the first guy I went to when this opportunity came along. I shared with him everything that was going on - that there was more than one school involved. He told me 'that's (Ole Miss) your home, you have to go there.' The next thing I wanted to know was if he was going to join me here. He told me I want to coach with you, wherever you go."

Freeze said Wommack has been a great fit for him - their personalities are different, which makes the union a perfect match.

"Dave keeps me calm and grounded. My personality is to lash out at times when things go wrong and he lets me lash out at him. Dan (Werner) is the same way," Freeze said. "They are loyal and mature and understand me.

"Dave allows me to air things out with him so I don't get too critical in the heat of the moment with our players. He helps me stay balanced. He never gets his feathers ruffled and that helps me keep my composure at times. I'm an emotional coach, but that can cause you to lose your focus on the task at hand if you don't have someone you can lean on and vent to. Dave and Dan are that for me."

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