Prepping For Fayetteville

Hugh Freeze talked mostly about Arkansas and the game this Saturday in Fayetteville. But the inevitable question came up concerning the job opening at Florida since some across the country have mentioned the Rebels’ head coach as a potential candidate.

“I have a policy. I don’t discuss my job status good or bad,” Freeze said. “I don’t think anything good comes from that. My family and I are extremely happy in Oxford, and I love working for Chancellor Dan Jones and Ross Bjork. And we’re extremely happy.”

But a head coach in the Southeastern Conference lost his job, and Freeze had good things to say about Will Muschamp, the soon to be former Florida mentor.

“I have great admiration for Will Muschamp,” Freeze said. “Your heart goes out to him. The way he’s handled the adversity I think is a great lesson for a lot of us that we can learn from.

“But my total focus is getting our team ready for Arkansas.”

Freeze said the Razorbacks are an outstanding football team that now, following its 17-0 win against LSU, will obviously have more confidence.

“I'm impressed with Arkansas. They know who they are and understand the way their coaches ask them to play. They shorten the game because they are physical. They have talent at every position and they believe they can win now. We have a tall task ahead of us.

Ole Miss had an open date last weekend and the Saturday prior defeated Presbyterian College 48-0.

“We enjoyed our off week. We got healthier as a team. We'll be full go with the exception of those out for the entire season,” Freeze said. “We’re rejuvenated a little bit. We spent some time with our families, which is rare during the season. It was much needed with two very difficult games we have left.”

Arkansas has been the bottom team in a difficult SEC West this season. But Freeze said all seven of the teams in that division are worthy of being ranked.

“I’ve said all year long all seven SEC West teams are quality top 25 teams. But because of the schedule we play, that won’t be reflected in all the polls. But I assure (Arkansas) is one of the better teams in the country. They don’t give up many points. People don’t rush the football on them. And they shorten the game with their physical run game and their passes off that which are extremely difficult to defend."

More from Freeze

* On where the UM program is now: I want us to stay focused on the journey we're on, sitting here ranked in the top ten in the country. In year three, I couldn't be much more pleased. Obviously we lost two very difficult, close games against quality opponents. Being relevant in year three should motivate us no matter what happens around us. Our theme continues to be let's focus on us and see how it shakes out.

* On matching up with the Hogs: Anytime you look at teams and say you match up better with certain teams and not better with other teams. I think we're built after three years better to match up (with Arkansas). This may not be our best matchup, but we've got to play it.

* On 80 percent chance of rain this Saturday: We'll definitely have wet ball practice on Wednesday and Thursday with our skill guys before we head up there.

* On Evan Engram: Critical cog for us. With Laquon (Treadwell) going down, we've got to find more ways to get him the ball. He can make a difference for us.

* On Tony Conner: I wish we had more built like him. He can play the run and guard in space some. He's been invaluable to us. In a game like this he will have a key role.

* On the Hogs' run game: Very difficult challenge. As good as any we've faced. They're willing to grind it out and shorten the game. Their line is physical and they've got good running backs.

* On Laremy Tunsil: In year two he's much better in finishing run blocks. He looked good in practice yesterday. We'll get a training report on him tonight. Nothing (yesterday) gave me any reservation he wouldn't be ready to go Saturday.

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