Hugh Freeze and A.J. Brown

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Monday for his weekly press conference

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Monday afternoon to preview Georgia Southern, as well as update the health of the team and more.

Opening Statement...
“After meeting yesterday and watching the film, our kids competed and competed against what I think is one of the hotter and more talented football teams in the country right now. You are right there, needed a couple of plays to go our way there at the end that didn’t that resulted in another loss. It continues to be an issue for us on defense, stopping the run and giving up explosive plays and I have zero frustration in the effort of our kids. I do continue to have frustration over not being able to fix a reccurring problem. That is something we have to just keep grinding on to fix to give us a chance to win when you are playing some of the top teams in the country that’s in the Southeastern Conference western division. Our team is determined and our goal is to go 1-0 this week against a talented Georgia Southern team that rises to play at a very, very high level against teams when they get opportunities. Traditionally, they have done extremely well when they are playing power five teams. They are a scary matchup because of all the athletic guys they have running that option offensively. Defensively, they can give up some yards, but they’ve done very well at being sound in the red zone, which is something—we’ve got to score touchdowns with the way we are playing defense right now. We need to get it in the end zone. It is a worthy opponent come Saturday. I am glad we are home again. I encourage our fans to continue to keep supporting these kids and to be extremely loud to make communications difficult on the opponent.” 

On how Georgia Southern presents a challenge…
“Well, they present a challenge because they recruited or either had transfers that were really talented kids at the skill positions and their speed is concerning. They create option on almost any kind of blocking scheme, whether it be power, counter, zone. A lot of the time they are going to have the capability of pulling and running the option and that’s not the easiest thing to prepare for when you don’t see it that regularly. It is a concern because of their speed and athleticism, but also because of the system. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get zoned in on stopping that.” 

On any new players that stood out to him vs. Auburn…
“Rommel (Mageo) is going to get the start this week at the Mike linebacker. He played in I think six snaps and in all six he was sound in the right spot. He will get the start there. I am not sure at the Stinger yet. (DeMarquis) Gates had an MRI yesterday and we will see how that comes back today on his knee. He definitely did not play well, was not mobile, did not move around very well and was not physical. It will be hard to say today sitting here that with his knee issue that he would be the guy that we would go to right now. It would be between Willie (Hibbler) and (Detric) Bing-Dukes at the Mike and Tayler (Polk) and Ray Ray (Smith) and Temario (Strong) at the Stinger.” 

On kicker Gary Wunderlich…
“He’s worked hard at it. I think he has always been a talent. Just the maturity. You see kids, like the Auburn kid is phenomenal, but he’s done it for years. Gary started doing it early in his career here and I think he has just gotten more confidence and become accustomed to the pressure of that job. He is doing it very well right now.” 

On wide receiver A.J. Brown…
“He is getting better. A.J. is going to be a phenomenal wide receiver. I think he is going to continue the tradition that we have here of wide receiver play. He is going to help it he and D.K. (Metcalf) and Tre (Nixon), along with the guys that are already here. His deal is just understanding the different leverages in coverage and how that changes a route from time to time and he doesn’t have quite a good understanding of that just yet and that’s normal for a lot of freshman receivers, others have been the same way. There are so many different routes that he could run and so many different coverages that he has to see, it just takes time to make sure that you’re adjusting the route stems accordingly. You saw the other night when he can run a slant or he can do things that happen fairly quick off the ball, he’s very special and talented.” 

On the overall health of the team…
“It is not good right now. This is one of those years where the injuries have just followed us around. Yesterday we didn’t have an offensive line for practice. Sean (Rawlings) is in a boot and when he got hurt the other night it really hurt us in the tight red zone there on the third and fourth down because we had to call on (Robert) Conyers to try to get in there and Conyers’ knee right now is tough for him to move it and that really hurt us on those two plays there. Both of them are questionable. Daronte (Bouldin) had a hip pointer and he wasn’t doing really well yesterday either. Rod Taylor did come out of his boot; We sure hope he can give it a go because we are going to need some bodies in the offensive line come Saturday.” 

On the student body leaving at halftime…
“Well, I love our student body and we are having an open practice for them on Tuesday to come to. Many of our students are loyal, great supporters and help make our home atmosphere a difficult one to play in. Does it bother me that some seats are empty at an SEC western division game with a one-point halftime game when you come out? It does. I would hope that they would stay for that and many do. I wish the ones that choose to leave will certainly reconsider it because we need their support. We need that place to be difficult and they’re probably the ones that can make it the most difficult. Like I said, we have a great student body that I care for and if there is something we can do to help make that happen I will gladly consider it. One of the things is Tuesday, getting to see those people here and encouraging them to let’s do this together. We have two remaining home games, let’s make it difficult.” 

On if he feels like a five-loss team…
“Today I do. If you look at the five teams we have lost to - Florida State, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas, which sticks in my craw pretty good because I think the other four had better talent on those given nights - even though we made mistakes, we could have won some of those games for sure. It is hard to look at their teams and no, OK I understand they had players that made enough plays to beat us and that’s probably going to be the truth a lot of the years. We had beaten them before and we could have this year also. We are what our record says we are and there is a reason. When you look at the stats it shows you the issues and the deficiencies we have that caused those. Whether it was a critical turnover at a really bad time for you or a drop here or a missed tackle here or a missed fit here or an explosive run and the margin of error for us this year with the injuries and things we have had have been so small and you just have to play at 100 miles per hour every play it seems for us to have a chance to win those games. You look at it and say we have certainly been beaten by quality opponents, that doesn’t make it feel any better though.” 

On the offensive line…
“We are playing freshmen and sophomores primarily there, so the future is bright with those guys and Alex’s (Givens) first start and Greg Little’s first start against a very fine defensive line and I thought they held their own and did really well. I am real proud and think they are going to be really good players. I thought (offensive line coach) Matt (Luke) did a good job preparing the offensive line, having to move some players around and juggle some things to give us a chance.” 

On who he will play on the offensive line on Saturday… 
“It is awful hard to burn a redshirt at this late date, so we are going to try our best. We’ve got (Jacob) Feeley and Talbot Buys who are two good walk-ons that have worked hard and we will call upon them to help us get ready, but sure would hate to pull a redshirt at this point with four games left in the season.” 


OM Spirit Top Stories