Meeting The Media

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media on Friday to preview fall camp, which opened this morning.

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We're excited for year two of our journey at Ole Miss. Obviously it's something very much anticipated by our fans and everyone involved in this program. The kids came back in a good mental frame. Real pleased with Paul Jackson and his staff this summer to get the kids more physically fit for this conference.

In year two we certainly think we're heading in the right direction and probably ahead a little bit. But we have to temper expectations and be realistic. We're still a young football team with depth issues. Last year we were able to get by without many injuries and depth. That wasn't the case in the spring.

How have guys recovered from their injuries? That's a question and a concern. How will the young kids do? Time will tell us on that as well.

We've made great strides academically. Team GPA up 2.7, from 2.1 last year. We have 11 players that already have a degree. That's good and they can help us in a leadership role and have a lot more time to focus on things.

On rehabbing players: We practiced this morning. Good workout this morning. CJ is limited. Didn't do any team stuff. Junen didn't do anything but conditioning. Same for Sawyer. Gross nothing yet and probably he and Charles are the farthest off for a game. CJ I think will be ready. Aaron is full go and pleased with that. Took every rep today. Bo is practicing but we're charting every throw he makes. Keeping it now to 50 throws. We'll judge his progress and soreness. The soreness is not in the surgery area, and that's a good sign. I think he'll be fine and ready to go.

On freshmen class: Paul gave me updates. He shared with me some things. I liked in practice today what I saw. Pleased with day one.

On starting with an SEC team on the road: We'll go two full weeks preparing us for us and what we do. Then we'll evaluate and make a decision. We could go another three or four days, or we could start more gameplanning then. By Tuesday of gameweek, we'll be turning our attention to Vanderbilt.

On the TE position: We have to find out what we can do at that position. Evan Ingram is going to be a special player. Nick Parker is there. Justin Bigham and Charlie Scott and some of those guys we're evaluating. Evan is the guy we have to get ready to play. We are thin there and it will affect some things we do.

On expectations: I'm very careful not to identify a specific expectation other than become more relevant in the SEC West and continue to compete passionately for our university for 60 minutes. Do I think we have the ability to scare some people, I do, and I expect us to. Can we win all those games? I don't know. We need to continue with great enthusiasm and passion.

On the schedule: It is what it is. We're big on controlling what we can control. We'll line up and play. It's a difficult stretch (early) for sure. We could be a better football team and the record not be better at that point. but we don't talk about that a lot around here. We just get ready and play.

On entering year two for you: Knowing Mississippi and knowing Mississippi people and this state, and knowing the satisfaction they get from the success of their football team, that brings a lot of satisfaction to me. I'm driven to not be defined by the won-loss record (in year two), the recruiting rankings, the preseason polls. They are important. But if you let that define you in year two or a given week, your coaches and the people around you start feeling pressure to deliver. That's not what our program's about.

On the tempo this year: I expect to be much more effective at it, which means we can do it for more plays in the game. But if you're not successful at it, it will hurt you. If you're not converting first downs, it's a disadvantage for you. I am confident in it and our kids believe in it. I thought the last two games (last season) we did it a good percentage of the time. I hope we can do that again this season.

On new QBs: My goal is to redshirt both. But you have to get another one ready to play because of an injury situation that might occur. I hope it doesn't get to that point.

On DT Shackelford's ability to play now: A little early to tell. In spring no question he was not the same after two years off. I haven't watched today's practice to see how he did. He's such a leader. People listen to him. The more he can play the more it will help us. Hopefully he will be able to come along nicely and be able to be on the field a lot for us. But I can't answer that yet.

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