HOOVER, Ala.–Action picked up at the Winfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama as Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze, along with quarterback Shea Patterson, offensive lineman Javon Patterson and defensive tackle Breeland Speaks fielded questions on all fronts.
In his thirty-minute interview, Freeze touched on seemingly every aspect of his plan for next season before dodging questions about the swirling stories of NCAA allegations. Freeze declined to comment when asked about the lawsuit filed by Houston Nutt yesterday, noting how while he would love to insert his opinion, he cannot due to the legal nature of the ordeal.
Social media came alive as Freeze gave a long-winded rendition of his team in order to avoid discussing the new legal developments surrounding the program.
If Hugh Freeze sets SEC Media Days record for longest opening statement, will it later be vacated by NCAA?
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) July 13, 2017
— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) July 13, 2017
Outside of the NCAA allegations sweeping the conferences, the Rebels made clear their intentions for the fall. Efficiency on the field will be the biggest concern as they prepare to start season in stride.
After adding new offensive coordinator Phil Longo to an already fresh starting quarterback, Freeze commented on the plan to attack an SEC caliber defense that will be new to both.
“We’re not going to change what we’ve done. We get criticized for not being balanced, but I don’t really care about being balanced. If we throw for 500 yards and only rush for 100, I don’t care. What I do care about is when we have to run it, are we efficient? What we do is options. We’re not going to change that, we’re going to attack it the same way.”
Freeze plans to utilize his young starting QB Shea Patterson as a leader on the team, commenting on how important it will be for the star to become the face of a program and how they can make it happen.
“The one area that I really believe is vital for him to be the guy that you just described for us that we need is his preparation in the film room. I really didn’t get to see a lot of that last year, because, you know, I mean, he’s on cruise control, running scout team, thinking that’s not going to happen this year, but all of a sudden you got a five-day window to get yourself ready in — with a team that’s already played nine or ten games at that time” Freeze said.
With the self-imposed bowl ban by the university for the upcoming season, the Rebels will have a different mindset heading into the season knowing it that it will be final in November. Intensity and strategy will be adjusted as the Rebels no longer have the postseason on the brain.
“Right now, we are just worrying about what we control, and that is just showing up working out, being the best version of ourselves every day. We are just really looking forward to Sept. 2. Anything else beyond that is kind of irrelevant for us right now” Patterson noted.
Junior defensive tackle Breeland Speaks is also taking it one day at a time. When pressed today in Hoover, he let in that the team is focused on beating the opposing team- not the legal debacles.
“We’ve got to give the guys time to actually just not worry about any of the extra stuff going on, just to focus in on that opponent of that week” Speaks affirmed.
The Rebel squad aims to set the bar high as they face off against the South Alabama Jaguars at home on September 2.