Hugh Freeze

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze has faith the Rebels will bounce back after a tough loss to FSU

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze spoke on the injuries to Eric Swinney and Ken Webster, the debut performance of Greg Little and more prior to practice Wednesday afternoon.

On the approach after a tough loss to FSU:

“Oh, gosh, that’s life in football. Whether you play well and lose or whether you play bad and lose, how you handle that and how you bounce back is part of it. You’re not going to win them all, particularly when you’re playing a schedule like we’re playing. The positive is you go into basically a home game for one of the top teams in the nation and it’s easy to see that we could have won the game. We obviously did not, and give credit to them for taking the momentum back and winning it. But there’s a reasonable belief that we competed and we could’ve won it with a bunch of young kids on the field. I think you build on the positives but also address the reasons we didn’t get it done. If we’re going to be any good, you bounce back from those. Traditionally, we’ve done that very well here. I think it’s because of the continuity on our staff and the chemistry that we have. I expect our kids to respond. It’s a long season, and one game doesn’t make it or break it.”

On if the team suffered any notable injuries outside of Eric Swinney and Ken Webster:

“We have the typical soreness and things. We’ll hold Fadol (Brown) out today. He’s sore. Tony Conner had to get his knee drained, but everything else, nothing should keep anybody out after today. We expect both of them to be back tomorrow. But very disappointed to lose Ken and Swinney, though. Swinney has one carry and that happens, and of course Ken is a big loss. He’s our best cover guy.”

On the respective injury diagnosis for Swinney and Webster:

“Swinney’s got a torn ACL and Webster tore everything, every ligament in his knee.”

On corrections the team needs to make:

“Eye discipline on defense and just playing poor technique. Some of it had to do with you lost Ken and he’s our boundary guy that you expect to play 95 percent of the snaps. Then you put somebody over there that maybe is not as comfortable, and his technique was really bad at times. It cost us some. And then if you’re carrying a guy, your eyes shouldn’t be in the backfield. Just doing your job on defense. It was the crucial third-and-longs that really killed us in that drive right before the half. I think I’m as hard on critiquing us as coaches as anybody, and when you look and say, ‘Man, that’s a perfect call,’ then we’re either not communicating it well enough or teaching the techniques well enough or they’re not disciplined enough to do their job. We’ve got to work through that. That’s why most people would rather play a game week one that you can maybe make those mistakes and still win. You can’t do that when you play one of the top teams in the nation.”

Any potential cornerback moves?

“The first name that would come up would be Derrick Jones. I think we’re deep at receiver. We haven’t made that decision yet, though, but that would be the first name that pops up in my mind.”

D'Vaughn Pennamon

On potential RB moves:

“We’ve got Jarrion Street that could move back over there, or maybe Kailo Moore. But we’re so thin at corner, so probably Jarrion would be the next guy if we had to do that. D.K. Buford’s working hard to get a shot, and hopefully Akeem (Judd) and Eugene (Brazley) and (D’Vaughn Pennamon) … Pennamon’s redshirt is probably not going to happen. He’s going to get ready to go and will probably see some action this Saturday.”

On if lack of depth at CB could mean a change in the return game with Carlos Davis:

“We’ve definitely thought about that. He’ll probably remain at kickoffs. Van (Jefferson) can do punts, and like you’ve seen, with everybody using the spread punts, you’re probably not returning them anyway. You just can’t with the new spread punt if the hang time’s any good at all. It’s hard to return them, so we have to consider that for sure.”

Second half issues after watching film?

“We gave up on the run a little bit. In the first half, we gave the appearance of being balanced. We were pretty effective. In the second half, we probably should have called a few more, but the two turnovers (to open the third quarter) really just … they go field goal, turnover, touchdown, turnover, field goal or touchdown — I can’t remember exactly — and all of the sudden, the whole momentum had just totally gotten away from us. You can’t turn the ball over four times against one of the best teams in the nation. I don’t want to judge us on one game with the rushing attack when we got away from it so much and we lost some possessions due to turnovers.”

Top concern coming out of FSU?

“Just correcting mistakes and handling the September schedule — the mental part of it and the physical rest. This is a tough turnaround. We got back at 4 a.m. (Tuesday morning), gotta play the triple-option Saturday, which is totally different. Wasn’t real smart on our scheduling. You’d like to have two weeks to get ready for it, and we basically have two days. We just have to correct the mistakes and hopefully stay healthy, for sure.”

On the status of Jeremy Liggins:

“We hope this is the last week. He’s out here practicing, I assume. I hope. But he’s doing well, I think.”

On preparing for Wofford:

“We spent three to four days in camp (in August) with a 30-minute period introducing what our defense is going to face. Whether or not they can recall that today, who knows. But we did think we had to do that.”

Greg Little

On how Greg Little and Rod Taylor graded out at left tackle:

“Greg did good. Rod did pretty good. Got beat on one sack underneath. Those guys (FSU) has a lot of seniors over there that are expected to be in the playoffs. They’re going to win their share (of one-on-ones). But earlier in the game when we had the appearance of being balanced, I didn’t see any issues. I thought our line played pretty well.”

On how much Shea Patterson could play this weekend:

“He and I will sit down Friday and we’ll have a conversation. We’ll see kind of where that goes.”


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