The Ole Miss Rebels are getting back into the flow of things after a week off for spring break.
“I’m not much into excuses right now that they give; I don’t want to hear anybody talking about stuff,” Freeze said. “I just want to see them perform and somebody fight through and take a leadership role.”
The team will look to quarterback Shea Patterson for a leadership role this year. Although he is only coming into the season as a sophomore, Patterson has high expectations for next year, and his teammates and coaches believe in him to the fullest extent.
“Shea has great leadership; he’s done a great job from that point on to here,” offensive lineman Javon Patterson said. “He took that role, and he’s done a great job being vocal.”
Patterson was the No. 1 quarterback out of high school. He was thrust into the starting role after a season-ending injury to former quarterback Chad Kelly, and he did a respectable job behind center, considering Freeze was forced to pull his redshirt with only a few games left in the season. Now, as the starting quarterback, Shea will be expected to fill the shoes of one of the best quarterbacks in Ole Miss history.
“When he understands exactly what going on, he’s really good,” Freeze said. “Still, there’s a percentage of things he’s questioning, but I think he will have it down by the end of our practices.”
Marquis Haynes is returning for his senior season as a Rebel. He will also need to develop a leadership role on the defensive side of the ball to improve the defensive unit that had a lackluster season last year.
“That’s not the defense we expected to be,” Haynes said. “This year, we’re going to be the Landshark defense.”
Freeze seemed pleased with some of his new additions to the coaching staff so far this spring. He praised Wesley McGriff, Freddie Roach and Bradley Dale Peveto as key components to getting the defense back to where it needs to be.
“McGriff, Freddie and Peveto have brought great energy to that side for sure; that’s an area we have to improve on,” Freeze said. “Just trying to create correct habits and a correct mentality is what I’m really looking forward to in spring.”
The players might enter next season with a chip on their shoulder after the university self-imposed a bowl ban for next year. Although they will not be eligible to play in the post-season, the players along and coaches are keeping a good attitude about the situation.
“The attitude has been great, phenomenal, really. Everyone is staying positive and keeping the energy,” Haynes said. “We’ve moved way beyond that.”