With two more chances left to find a sixth win and clinch bowl eligibility, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze took some time in his weekly Monday press conference to talk about just how much it has taken for the Ole Miss program to get to this point at 5-5 with LSU and Mississippi State left to go.
“They’ve really given all that we’ve asked, and I have no doubt that every Sunday they’ve done exactly what we’ve asked in bouncing back and putting the past behind them,” Freeze said of his team. “That locker room and that coaches’ locker room was a painful place Saturday night, and we don’t run from that fact.
As painful as the loss was to Freeze, his coaching staff and the players, Freeze said it has to be about the process and the state of the program when he got there.
“We have to be process-oriented and not result-oriented because there’s too much at stake, not just from a football standpoint, but from the maturing as young men and how you handle your daily businesses when you’re disappointed,” said Freeze. “This process is way too important for us to get caught in the results that may or may not occur.”
Sitting at 5-5 is a position that Freeze said he probably would have taken before the season.
“If you had told me that we’d be at five (wins) with two games to go back in spring, I probably would have taken that, as would all of Rebel Nation,” he said. “When you start having success, it builds the expectations for all of us and we want more, and I don’t blame them. We feel the same way.”
The next chance for Ole Miss to affect the results part of this season comes Saturday on the road in Baton Rouge against No. 8 LSU. The Rebels responded well Sunday after the 27-26 loss to Vanderbilt, according to Freeze, but he is worried about his team’s health yet again.
“We’re down now, with Ferbia (Allen)’s injury, to about 59 (healthy) scholarship players,” Freeze said. “We can’t use that as an excuse or a crutch. We’ve got to fix that in recruiting — which we will. Right now, we’ve got to press on with what we have.”
Egg Bowl to kick off at 6 p.m.
Kickoff for the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State has been set for 6 p.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 24, the Southeastern Conference announced Monday.
The game will be televised by ESPNU from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. It will be the 85th Egg Bowl and the 109th meeting overall between the in-state rivals.
Ole Miss Sports Information contributed to this report.
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