Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze says there are a lot of improvements to make for the Rebels after a 45-34 season opening loss against FSU

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze talked about the Rebels defensive mistakes, injuries and more in his weekly SEC teleconference.

Opening statement:

"There's a lot of positives that we'll take from that game to try to build upon but there were a considerable amount of negatives also that we have to get improved. We played seven freshmen on defense that made some mistakes that you kind of expect them to but we also had some made by some of our kids that really cost at costly times and we didn't take care of the football offensively in the second half. There are a lot of things to improve on, some positives also. We're playing a difficult offense this Saturday and we have just a short two days to prepare for the triple option. Coach Harris does an extraordinary job. They're very sound and fundamental. This offense can cause you problems, keep the ball away from you and manage the clock. They have our full attention for sure."

(He said they're looking forward to playing in renovated VHS and mentioned the grass turf as well.)

On Webster, Swinney:

"Swinney sat beside me on the bus so his leg could (be elevated). We had a good talk. He's in a good mental state. It's obviously very, very disappointing for him to miss last year and then get onto his first carry of his college career and have another injury that is season-ending. It's difficult. We know they both say the right things, that they understand God has a plan for them and don't always understand it or like it and it will be challenging emotionally. I visited with Webster yesterday and he's in a good mental state right now also. But it's very difficult to see those kids train as hard as they do and be kids we're depending on to be vital for the success of our team and then not to have them after Week 1. It's certainly disappointing and a challenge to us."

Change anything personnel-wise?

"We definitely are looking at any option, particularly at corner, and should we suffer another injury at tailback. Right now, I think we're OK there, but we should suffer another one, we'd have to look at other options."

On Tony Bridges and Tony Conner's leadership in the secondary:

"You certainly look for leadership there. We don't have many upperclassmen there besides Tony Bridges and when Ken went down, he was forced to go to the boundary some which is not his normal deal and he struggled some himself. We need him to come on this week and improve in his techniques. I think Issac Gross and D.J. Jones are guys are entire defense looks to. ...It would be nice to develop a leader somewhere in the back end."

On Gross:

"He had a great game, a really great game. I'm so happy to have him back. Hopefully he can stay healthy and he'll have an outstanding season. Our whole front (played well vs. FSU). You hold Dalvin Cook under 100 yards, you think you've done a nice job that night. They did. Our front played really well."

More on the secondary:

"We're always our worst critics. We're having to look at are we doing things that No. 1, can they do it and then No. 2, can they understand it really fast? We're always looking. Give Florida State credit. They've got speed and athleticism and made plays, but some of it either our kids didn't understand it or didn't have the capability of performing the task. We as coaches have to look at that and make sure we make corrections there."


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