Hugh Freeze

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze wants more from his team as the Rebels motor towards a Saturday clash with Memphis

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was not happy following what he said was a "disappointing" Wednesday practice.

On the practice week: “Disappointed right now, to be honest. I expected a lot more today. We’ve got a lot of work to do before we play. Everything. It was not a good day. It was like pulling teeth for me to get the coaches to do their job with an urgency and the kids. It was not a good day. We’ve got to get in here and go to work. Tuesday was a good day. I have concerns about everything right now, but you can’t use excuses in this game. You’ve got to go and execute at least, and we didn’t today.”

On the health of Montrell Custis and Carlos Davis: “They looked fine today. It wasn’t them being injured, it was just not any attention to detail.”

On why he’s directed his coaching attention more to the defensive side this year: “I didn’t think we were playing well. Ultimately the responsibly goes through the coaches to me. If I can assist in some way, I want to. I know I can assist in getting kids to do their job on every play. I think we’ve made improvement the last few weeks. That’s a combination of everybody; it’s not because I went over there. But everybody’s attention to detail, and we’re playing a lot of young kids that have gotten more snaps. There’s nothing like experience. I just felt like that was were I could help our football team.”

On how involved he was with the defense in years past: “Years past, it kind of depended on how we were playing. Dave (Wommack) and his staff share with me the plan. I’m more involved with some of the planning now, and then making sure that I know the execution and the technique that we’re trying to do on each play, particularly the back end. I don’t fool around with the front end much, but trying to get a lot of eyes with Jason (Jones) and Corey (Batoon) back there with our three safeties and two corners and our stinger, in particular, and trying to make sure we’re accountable on every play.”

On the young secondary growing up: “I saw it on the game film the last couple of weeks. We didn’t give up explosive plays in the pass game. Last week was zero. The week before it was very few, so there’s been some improvement there. But we’re about to face a difficult team this week. We’ll be tested again. If we’re not locked in throughout the week preparing, it’ll show on Saturday. We’ve got two good days to get back in and clean up a few things.”

On the Memphis wide receivers: “They’ve been very good, and they’re playing a lot of kids who’ve had success. They haven’t been challenged a lot yet, so they probably have a lot of things they haven’t even shown yet because they haven’t had to. We’ll see it all this week, I’m sure. Their receivers are talented, and they’re playing well. It’ll be a tough matchup for us.”

On John Youngblood: “He’s one of our captains. You don’t get that by not modeling toughness, discipline, accountability and the way he’s handled adversity in his personal life. He’s a guy that we went on the night before signing day and he’s had to work. It didn’t come natural to him to be on the field all the time. He did it through hard work, determination and handling the tough times and adversity well. Those are the things that have led him to this point. He’s handled them.”

On the mid-50s forecast for Saturday night: “I don’t even look at the weather. I usually ask on Thursday (equipment manager) Ken Crain if there’s any chance of rain and what the temperature looks like it’s going to be. But we’re excited to play a night game in our home stadium. I’m hopeful that our people really take pride in Saturday night here being a really difficult place to play. We need to make it difficult on their offense and for it to be an advantage for us.”

On Jalen Julius: “Constant improvement. He’s an athletic guy that has quick-twitch and can change directions. He’s still a freshman. He’s got to definitely pick up his attention to detail after today. But he’s got the tools and he’s done well in the games. Hopefully that will be the case Saturday. But he hasn’t arrived yet.”

On what led to Julius becoming a starter over Tony Bridges: “You compete every day to earn the chance to play. Tony’s had a good week. He’s had a good week. I think you’ll see him getting more snaps Saturday. But Jalen earned it.”

On Sean Rawlings benefiting from game experience last season: “It’s invaluable — to see all the looks that you’ll see, all the movements and the physicality of the game. Him having to play last year has really benefited us.”

On how Rawlings performed at center against Georgia: “Good. Solid game.”

On if the defensive ends Rawlings has faced so far this season have built his confidence: “You would hope so. He’s faced some good ones and has some good ones coming down the road, and in one-on-ones (in practice) he always goes against Marquis (Haynes). That’s good work for him every day. It’s got to give him confidence when he has success against those type players.”


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