The Ole Miss Rebels are facing a tough challenge this week against 24th-ranked LSU in famed Death Valley, but when head coach Hugh Freeze spoke to the media Wednesday, the first thing he addressed was how the members of his team were doing outside of football.
“It was a good day. I like the way the kids are going about their business, particularly off the field,” Freeze said. “I like on the field too but I really like some of the accountability that they’re showing. I think it’s come miles in a couple years, and the leadership of our team I think gets it.”
Freeze soon got back to talking about the upcoming game and gave an update on injured center Ben Still.
“I just don’t know exactly how he’ll be Saturday,” Freeze said. “The good thing is he knows everything, he doesn’t have to get reps, but if he can go he certainly will.”
Freeze also talked about the possibility of Robert Conyers having to start in place of Still at center, and how junior center Craig Frigo had performed in practice.
“It just lessens our depth at other places, but he had a really good game against Tennessee,” Freeze said. “He’s very athletic, maybe not as strong and not as much mass as Ben (Still) for some certain blocks, but did really well, and the snaps were really good and they’ve been good this week. So have Frigo’s. Frigo will fight you too; he’s a tough kid.”
Freeze spoke about how the team’s recent performance and national attention has affected his recruiting as well.
“The last two weeks have picked up quite a bit with kids that we weren’t sure if we were in the game or not nationally, and of course the kids we’ve been working hard on all along, I don’t think we’ve hurt ourselves on at all,” Freeze said. “The board has probably gotten a little bigger during the last couple weeks, which is a big thing. I wish we had a full class for sure. We’ll have to manage it the best we can, but it would be nice to have a full class for sure.”
In addition to this, Freeze also said the special teams work on punting has been a huge factor so far and spoke about freshman punter Will Gleeson.
“We’ve won some field positioning with that and the way our defense has played and the way our coverage on punts has done, and he’s just placing the ball in different places,” Freeze said. “That allowed us to be very patient at times offensively.”
Special teams coordinator and linebacker coach Tom Allen was also impressed with Gleeson’s performance thus far.
“He’s been super,” Allen said. “Once he got that first game under his belt he’s kind of taken off, so we’re proud of him.“
Allen also addressed the team’s kicking situation, and talked about what was behind freshman kicker Gary Wunderlich’s improvement over the season.
“I just think its just experience. We’ve always felt like he was talented,” Allen said. “He’s got more comfortable each and every week, and I think that his talent is kind of showing through. We’re really pleased with him and I think that the more he kicks the better he’ll get.”