Javon Patterson and Shea Patterson/USA Today Images

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and select players met the media following the season-ending loss

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, defensive end Marquis Haynes and offensive lineman Javon Patterson met the media following the Rebels' season-ending loss to Mississippi State Saturday.


On the loss: “Unfortunately, I knew it was going to be a scoring fest. We didn’t keep up with the scoring. We had some chances to keep the game close and stay in it and keep the energy high and the motivation high. We failed at it. I thought the pick in the end zone was critical, and then the fourth down was crucial. We did not stop them all night. We had to score with them and we failed to do that. It stinks. I hate it for our fans. I hate it for our university. I hate it for our seniors. It’s not the way you want to end the season. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get back to where we want to be. It’s a very disappointing night.” On if the failed fourth-down conversion sapped all energy from the sideline: “Definitely. I thought the energy in the whole place kind of went down. There was good energy at the beginning of the second half. There’s no question that was a crucial play.” On the state of the defense: “We’ve got to look at everyone and everybody. We were not good. When you can’t stop their base stuff, we’ve got to figure out is it process? Is it people? What exactly is it? We’ve got a lot of young kids who have the possibly to be good. We’ve got to recruit better and do an exhaustive study of our staff and system.” On how far along he is in his defensive coordinator search: “I’m not far along. I really believed that Dave (Wommack) deserve to finish without a lot of distraction. He’s done some remarkable things. He’s the type of guy you want in the profession. He’s been very good at it for a long time. Time for me to figure out which direction we go next.” On the season: “It’s been the toughest of my professional career, whether it be from the disappointments, to the injuries, to everything going on around our program. I know the testing of your faith tests your endurance, and it’s tough at times. It’s tough on your families, it’s tough on everybody around the building. You find out a lot about who you are. You’ve got to learn how to fight through it. I’m glad the season’s over now; it’s been difficult. Can’t wait to hit the road recruiting, get the necessary changes made and get to spring ball.” On what he’s looking for in a defensive coordinator: “A toughness that he’ll bring to our kids. Energy. Obviously he’s got to fit with our core values. I’d love for him to be a great mentor of young men. Toughness and physicality that he demands that energy from them every day.” On the difference in throws from Chad Kelly to Shea Patterson contributing to drops: “Obviously there is. We certainly have not caught it as well the last two games, for sure. I don’t remember A&M being a lot of drops. We’ve had our share the last two games that were costly. Reps, they just haven’t had a lot of reps together. I don’t know if it’s a lot difference in the ball. Reps can correct that.” On losing to Mississippi State: “There’s are a lot of low points, but when you lose this game, it’s low.” On Shea Patterson: “I thought he competed well. The mistakes he’s making really aren’t physical as they are mental. Kind of knowing situations. Most of it is just mental, and it’s going to come. He moved the ball effectively. I’m satisfied to this point. I think he’s a great piece to build the future of this program around.”


On the defense going into next season: “I think we just need a better expectation. We can’t just take this loss and keep it down and let it burn us. We’ve got to keep getting better, keep getting chemistry. Thanks to the seniors for leading us since I came in as a freshman. They set the bar to a high expectation. We have to find a way to get back to it.” On missed assignments defensively: “Just a couple MAs, not knowing other things.” On Wommack retiring: “I didn’t find out until just now when you told me. Coach Wommack, I know he’s old and stuff, but he’s been like an uncle to me. I go in and always talk to him, mess with him. To me, that’s one of the best college coaches on defense in the world. Knowing he’s not going to be here no more, just got to find somebody else’s room to go to and mess with them.” On the disappointment of the season: “It’s a real disappointment. Just got to come back and get better, hope for a better season next season. I know we’re going to do real good next year.” On staying in school or going pro (Haynes later told Chuck he’s “99 percent sure” he’s going pro): “I don’t know yet.”


On the loss: “That hurt for the seniors. That hurt for us. This big rivalry game hurts. For us younger guys and people coming in, we’ve got to get back to work.” On failing to score, again, in the second half: “Like before, it’s just execution, not getting first downs, not completing passes or the fourth-and-1 stop that we got. Stuff like that really hurt us.” On losing emotion after the fourth-down stop for MSU: “Yeah, that hurts, but we don’t lose any emotion. We keep fighting as a team. We just kept going, but as you saw, we didn’t complete passes and stuff like that or help Shea out in the pocket.” On the disappointment of the season: “It’s very disappointing because we set expectations so high. Coming in, you work with these guys all summer and all spring. It hurts. It hurts bad. We’ve got to come back to work.”


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