Petre Thomas

Head coach Hugh Freeze, players talk 52-3 win over New Mexico State

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and select players met the media to discuss the Rebels' 52-3 win over New Mexico State on Saturday.

Hugh Freeze:

Opening Statement: “It was good to get back on the field and see our kids compete. It was good to play at home in front of our crowd in an early game. Hopefully we can use that time to rest and recover. There were some good individual efforts in this game. There were also some things that we need to continue to improve on. It is our job to as coaches to do that and address those things, and then hopefully demand where to make corrections if necessary. In this profession, you have to enjoy those wins that you have. You have a short window to enjoy it while before you get to move on. I plan on going home today, watching some games and eating vegetable soup with my family. Hopefully the other coaches will do the same. Then, we will get back tomorrow and continue to improve.” On the injuries in today’s game: “D.J. Jones was out in the second half. Evan Engram was out. It is too early for me to say on either of those, but those are the only two that I’m worried about from today.” On cleaning up play: “I really have to do a better job with some things. I think this team needs and wants me to be more passionate. I need to be full of emotion for them. Some teams don’t react to that, but these guys do. Here’s the deal with this team, and our coaching staff, we have got to understand the amount of energy and focus that it takes to put into every single play in order for each one to be successful. Then we have to forget it and move on. Every single play has a life of it’s own. You never know when a play is going to be a turning point in competitive football games, which is all we are about to see for the remainder of the year. I am so locked in right now to the one’s that aren’t turning points. It is one thing for a team to have a successful play when schematically a guy is there. It is a whole other thing for us to lineup and not execute the plan and it causes us a negative play. Whether it is the punt return team, or the offense blowing a blocking assignment or the defense blowing their coverage, we still have these problems going on. We have to come in tomorrow and look at every single one of them as a coach and ask if they are doing everything they can. We have to ask ourselves the same thing as coaches. We did a lot of good things today and we are going to enjoy this victory, but there are still some critical areas or moments in the game where we do not execute properly.” More on injuries: “I don’t want to say something that’s not totally accurate. I sure hope we get Robert (Conyers) and (Justin) Bell back soon. (Damore’ea) String(fellow) should be back next week. Jaylen (Walton) should be back. Other than the ones that are out for significant stretches of time, I’m hopeful that we’ll get them all back.” On Mike Hilton at Husky, Terry Caldwell at LB: “Mike is definitely more comfortable closer to the box. Glad we made that move. Terry (Caldwell) has got a ways to go. Plays hard, just a little bit out of control. He’ll get out of his gaps. Love his attitude, though, and love the way he studies and prepares. He’ll get better because he’s willing to do that.” On the reception he thinks he’ll get in Memphis: “I have no idea. I have nothing but good feelings for Memphis - those people, that town was really good to me. I respect the job Justin (Fuentes) has done there. What a good football team they have. They’re very good in all facets. They’re playing confident. I have no idea what reception I’ll have, but I’d hope there will be a mutual respect. I know I have it.” On Chad Kelly: “Solid. Still too many decisions that could’ve resulted in negative plays. A couple of them were my fault. I forget sometimes this is his first year in our system. I sometimes want to call something that we haven’t worked in practice. I’ve got to quit putting him in those positions, and he tried to force some balls. But it was a solid day, for sure.” On Laremy Tunsil: “I was told by our administration that we should expect an answer next week sometime.” On the status of the team: “We’re 5-1. Could’ve played better some games, played pretty well in spurts. Got a lot of games left. We’re a beat up team. Hopefully we can keep our kids healthy for this stretch run. It’s going to be fun. We were disappointed in the way we played on the road last week. Year four, to be sitting here 5-1 with a chance to win any game we play, I think our status is pretty good.”

QB Chad Kelly:

On his play: “I thought I did good. You can’t turn the ball over. That’s really what I think I’m most frustrated with. Well, I wouldn’t say frustrated. I don’t like turning the ball over. As a quarterback, you have to take care of the ball. That’s your job. I thought I did good, though. You put up 50 points on a team … wide receivers did a good job executing, line did a great job blocking, running backs did what they have to do, tight ends got open, too. Everybody just had a great game.” On Laquon Treadwell’s one-handed grab: “I couldn’t really see it until after on the jumbotron. That’s Laquon Treadwell for you. He’s a Top 5 pick next year in the NFL Draft. I’m glad he’s on my team.” On Memphis: “I can’t wait until we play them. It’ll be fun. I came to the game last year, so I kind of felt the rivalry that was there. It was a hard-fought game last year. They’ll be a good team. They’re undefeated for a reason. I’ve seen a couple games. Quarterback’s able to throw it around a little bit. We’ve just got to make sure we execute our game plan.” On the offensive line: “Very clean game. I don’t think I got sacked once. Maybe got hit three or four times. That’s a great job all around. The line did a great job, and we’ve got to make sure we keep working hard every day and not take a day off.”

WR Laquon Treadwell: 

On the one-handed grab: “I was just frustrated from the drops I had. I had to stay locked in and stay in the moment and keep playing. The opportunity presented itself and I made the play.” On his game overall: “It was an average day. I expect more of myself. There was a lot of plays I left on the field. Coach Freeze was prepping us about playing every play, on a scale of 1-10, at a nine or 10. I left a few on the field. I think the team played well. I made the play that came to me. We can only get better.” More on the catch: “I knew if he threw it deeper, because of the contact made at the line, I was going to have to push it. Once I saw it, I just started running hard and I ended up making it to the ball and making the play.” On the team’s morale: “I was talking to my teammates on the sideline. Even though we were up 50 points, the vibe of the team felt different. You could feel the hunger of the team, you could feel everybody’s not just loose on the sideline. It’s more to the game than winning. It’s doing all the little things right. It was a different vibe the whole week.”

DB Mike Hilton:

On his move to Husky: “It felt pretty comfortable for me. I’ve still got some things to work on, got to get back in that rhythm. Working with certain guys, defensive linemen, I’ve got to work on it all to get back in that rhythm and make sure I’m on top of everything.” On the secondary overall: “It went a lot more smoothly. The coaches want the best guys on the field. Not knocking A.J. (Moore), but he wasn’t quite ready. They put C.J. (Hampton) in, and it felt a lot smoother on the back end.” Confidence of the team? “We’re still hungry. We know what this team can accomplish. We’re going to take it game-by-game, day-by-day, and make sure we know what our focus is and what’s our ultimate goal. Leaders on this team, guys like myself, we have to make sure everybody is focused and knows what we can accomplish. We’re still hungry.” On his interception: “I got my chance to get my hands on the ball finally, and I made the play.”

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