Petre Thomas

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Wednesday to preview Arkansas

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media to preview Arkansas and more Wednesday afternoon.

On the practice week: “Good energy. Got a lot to clean up still. They throw a lot at you, for sure. We’ve got to make sure we can do what we’re calling. Everything looks good on the board, but you go out there and do it at the pace you’ve got to do it at, you’ve got to make sure you can execute it. We’ve got some stuff to clean up tonight and tomorrow, for sure.”

On the injury status of D’Vaughn Pennamon: “I’m not going to talk about injuries. No offense, but after Monday, I don’t want to talk about injuries anymore. I used to say that all the time. He looked good today, though.”

On benefits of the bye week: “We’ve looked fresher, for sure. Getting the extra practices in last week was certainly beneficial to us.”

On Demarquis Gates: “I’m going to consider that like an injury. We’ll see at game time.”

Gates on track to play? “Thus far. Thus far. They’re young kids that we are trying our best to help navigate life. I can still remember when I was a kid, and I’m old. I’m sure you young guys can. Sometimes you don’t make the right choice. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing a good job of teaching them lessons that help them in life. So far he’s had a good week.”

On the linebackers: “Until we play a game, it’s hard to tell. It’s easier to look good against the scout units. Everything’s slowed down a little bit out in practice. It’s kind of hard to tell. We’re a work in progress, for sure. The young kids in the back end are getting better, the linebackers are trying hard. We’re trying to ask them to do what they can do, for sure. But we still have a ways to go.”

On Freeze still aiding with defense: “Yes, I have. Don’t know how much I’m helping. We’ll see. I think we’ve gotten better in some spots, but our staff’s working hard. It’s a collaborative effort. It’s not just me over there. I’m just trying to help wherever our team needs it the most. That seems to have been it the last couple of weeks. The game has changed so much; you just look around. There are no more 10-7 games or 17-10s. They’re very rare anyway, even in this league that has great defensive players and defensive coaches. It’s very difficult to stop people these days. You’ve got to be really good in the red zone and hopefully get a few three-and-outs and make teams punt. But it’s gotten difficult. It’s a 60-minute game. These offenses are never out of it.”

On when the shift to offense happened: “I think it’s been coming, for sure. Even teams that typically have not run these types of offenses have kind of changed to it. If you look at some of the ones in our conference that haven’t typically done that, I don’t know if they’re OK with it, but they’re winning games 40-30 instead of 20-10. It’s definitely been an occurrence. It’ll probably transition back at some point. That seems to be the case this year, for sure.”

Arkansas doing that? “They’re scoring a lot of points. They certainly are. Even in their sets, they’re scoring a lot of points, and they’ve been very efficient.”

Revenge factor against Arkansas? “I haven’t thought about it this week until I got asked about it today on the SEC conference call. If I ever see the end of that game, of course it still makes me sick. It should. You’re a competitor, and you wanted to finish that game. We didn’t. But I don’t think about it. I’m not sitting around as I’m watching tape on them and putting a plan together thinking about that fourth-and-25 or the facemask call (on the two-point conversion). I don’t think about those things until somebody brings it up. It’s not fun to watch it again if I have to. Try not to.”

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