Freeze Takes to SEC Media Days

HOOVER, Ala. - There were no surprises when Rebel Coach Hugh Freeze began the media gauntlet here Thursday morning.

The events of the past couple of months dictated the questions that would be asked at SEC Media Days.

Freeze responded in typical Freeze fashion - measured, concise and thought out.

On Laremey Tunsil's recent issues: "I am confident in the person Laremy is and the way things are done in our program. We will cooperate fully with whatever is going on - the NCAA, the legal aspect of it, but again, I am confident in our core values and how we do things and in Laremy. We have great confidence in the type of young man he is. If we started to today, he would be on the field, absolutely."

Our take: If anything comes of this deal with Laremy and his arrest and the NCAA and his stepfather, we will be surprised. Shocked even. We have been assured there is just nothing there by "all" the people on the inside.

On the state flag: "In the late 1990s, our university moved away from the Confederate flag. Being a Mississippian, I have a great appreciation in our heritage, but unfortunately the symbol has been hijacked by some groups who have ill will toward other people. I am not a political figure, but I strongly believe it is time to move in a different direction and change the flag. Hopefully that will happen."

Our take: I agree with Freeze about the state flag. It is time for a change, past time. Our state leaders, and I don't mean our university football coaches, need to step up and take a stand about it. It's good for guys like Freeze to make a statement, but where is the leadership within our government? Get with it guys.

On the bad taste of the bowl game: "We didn't finish well. It's that simple. TCU took it to us. I learned some things I can do differently when we get back in that situation. It's very important for us to look at the reasons why we didn't compete better. I think the kids are motivated to not let that happen again. In our first team meeting back, the seniors to be showed me they get it. They don't want a repeat of that."

Our take: It was good not to hear excuses. Freeze and his team got taken to the wood shed by TCU and he absolutely knows there were preparation mistakes made. He will learn and move on. So will the returning players.

On the offensive line: "All the guys we didn't have in spring due to injury are back now. They are in full swing. I said all along that it would take three full recruiting years to get our depth the way it should be on the OL. We still are not quite where we need to be, but if we stay healthy, I like how our depth is shaping up. Aaron Morris is down to 312 pounds and is moving well. I'm anxious to see how he plays in the heat of battle. Robert Conyers is back. Laremy Tunsil is OK. Daronte Bouldin is healthy now. We should be OK there, but again, we need to stay healthy because we don't have an overabundance of depth, but I like the depth we have if we stay healthy."

Our take: For the first time since Freeze has been the head coach at Ole Miss, there is going to be some real competition at the OL positions. We have all seen what good competition has done to the deeper positions - they have all improved. The same will take place with the OL. The deeper the position, the more the competition, the better the production and final product.

On Jeremy Liggins: "He played on on the OL in spring with us looking at the future, but the now dictates that he go back to tight end at the start of the season because we are going to need him there. We need more people at TE and he knows the position."

Our take: Liggins will be a much bigger part of the offense at tight end in 2015 than he was in 2014. He knows the position and will impact it. Good move to move him back.

On the QB race: "I really expect the battle to go into the season. I think they all deserve a chance. I feel confident they will all get a shot in the first couple of games. I hope to know who the guys is going to be by game three."

Our take: There was skepticism at the end of spring when Freeze said there was no clear cut winner in spring training, but he was telling the truth. The media was limited in the number of practices we could watch, but what I was able to watch, I could not tell who was ahead in the battle. Ryan Buchanan seemed more consistent, but Devante Kincaide and Chad Kelly seemed to make more big plays. August will be interesting and anyone who thinks they can predict the winner, good luck.

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