Hugh Freeze is a man of perspective. So when he started his weekly press conference Monday, it wasn't about football but about the week itself.

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"Thanksgiving week is always a very enjoyable week for a lot of reasons," the second-year head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels said. "I shared with our team yesterday and told them they're supposed to present to me a list of three things they're extremely thankful for outside of football. That's our message of the week, and that's having a sense of gratitude for all the great things we're so blessed with."

But there's also football. Important football. Ole Miss-Mississippi State football.

The Battle for the Golden Egg, which was won last year by Ole Miss in Oxford 41-24.

"We get to spend some quality time around them," Freeze said of his players with them being out of school all week. "They're not in classes and tutoring, which allows us to be able to hang around with them more. Just some quality time with them after a grind of a season.

"And of course it's the Egg Bowl, one of the most historic and greatest rivalries in all of college football."

It's a short week of work. The game is Thanksgiving night. Monday is like Wednesday since that's the case.

"We're extremely excited about getting back on the practice field today," Freeze said. "It's a quick turnaround to get ready for a game in Starkville on Thursday night. We know the task at hand is going to be a great challenge. Certainly we're excited about getting down there and playing it."

More From Freeze:

* On last Saturday night: "We had our chances. There should have been some really good plays. For one reason or another, there were some plays we didn't get the job done. There were some opportunities there. But again we put it in the trash can and have moved on."

* On MSU's QB situation: "I really don't know what's going on there. I know they've been resting Dak (Prescott) the last few weeks and the other two have played the last few games. I saw where Tyler (Russell) left the game (Saturday) at the end. I have no idea the significance of what that is. We have to prepare for all three. Two of the three are similar and the other is still (somewhat) similar. You don't like not knowing. We wish we knew. But that's the situation we're in, preparing for all three. It does present a little different challenge."

* On what makes MSU's defense effective: "The length and size of their front. They are one of the longer defenses you'll face. Their linebackers are 6-4, 6-5, 6-3. Their front is huge. It's very difficult to win one on ones. You've got to create some double teams. Their backers are good at running around and making some plays. In the passing game, they do a great job of spot-dropping. And then they're so long that those windows to throw in, they don't stay open very long. They're an excellent defense and over the course of the last few games they've improved. We've got to find a way to be balanced so we can be effective in throwing. The last thing we want with who we are is to get in a situation where they know we have to throw. They're a very talented defense."

Bo Wallace
Bruce Newman

* On Bo Wallace being ill Saturday night and his recovery since: "He was a little better yesterday. Not well but better. Hopefully he'll be better (today). He was the only one that was sick with (the flu symptoms). Hopefully we'll stay clear of that."

* On Laremy Tunsil's injury from Saturday night: "He looked good. He'll be fine."

* On how much momentum was attained from winning the Egg Bowl last year: "A considerable amount. You want to have the opportunity to play in a bowl game and have that extra practice. And also for several recruits, that might have been a determining factor in their decision last year. And the overall confidence and feeling in our fan base, we created some momentum by going to a bowl game (in Birmingham). So I think it was a considerable amount."

* On this game and recruiting state-wide: "It goes in cycles. It depends on the kid. Some have natural ties or affections for one school over the other. I've seen it work both ways. I don't think there's any recipe you can put on it. I know it doesn't hurt, and it will help you with some. By the time February rolls around, a lot of things will have occurred. A lot of people will have made decisions, and relationships will have been built. It's not the only factor, but I know it doesn't hurt. And it will help in some cases."

* On missing Evan Engram at TE after his injury earlier this season: "We've got to get it in recruiting and get (depth at tight end) resolved. (Losing him) has made us more predictable. It has changed us, and we definitely miss him."

* On the development of I'Tavius Mathers and Jaylen Walton: "I couldn't be any more confident in those guys. I really believe in them. They're solid backs that are making some explosive runs for us in yards after contact and breaking some tackles. I know their confidence has grown. Real pleased with those guys."

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