Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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Freeze said that it was good meeting with the team yesterday. A lot of good things happened with a lot of improvement in a lot of areas. To go on the road to Kyle Field, there was a lot of great things about the game. The defense deserves a lot of credit. They played a really good game. It was overwhelmingly joyous for him to see the players have so much fun in the locker room after the game. When you're having a difficult season, it's really good to see the people have fun that are with you in this journey. 

Offensively, it was up and down. That was to be expected with a freshman quarterback out in that environment. They threw a lot of looks at him. He made a lot of plays. Five balls could have easily been caught that weren't, so the day could have been better. Shea handled himself well, and some playmakers made plays around him. Robert Conyers and Sean Rawlings are the heroes offensively. They go without attention. Neither felt good enough to play, but they bailed the offense out. They love this team and university and program. They went through a lot of pain to go above and beyond on Saturday.

Vanderbilt is very good. Playing a team led by Derek Mason is always difficult. They know what they're doing defensively, and they're getting better on offense. They want to run the ball, but they can throw it. Ole Miss needs to win on first downs to put Vandy in difficult situations. Mason has given Ole Miss' offense problems every year. They're fundamentally sound, and they're always in the right spots.

Benito Jones has gotten better and better every week. You don't have to worry about effort with him. He loves this place and will be a really great player. Deontay Anderson is coming on as well. A.J. Brown has great hands and continues to come on as well. He needs to block better, but he's progressing and competing. 

The defensive line has played well all year. They haven't cost the team this year. The defensive line played well on Saturday, but they've played well all year. D.J. Jones was a wrecking crew. A&M's center had problems all year. 

Freeze felt like the team had a chance to win every game left, and Shea Patterson gave the best change to win those games. The decision to pull the redshirt was for the seniors to finish their careers at Ole Miss in the best way possible.

Freeze hasn't seen better effort from a group as the offensive line has given this year. They're good kids that care about this program. They're willing to go the extra mile to make sure they do the part in Ole Miss being successful. 

In the second half, Ole Miss ran mainly four plays. They had different options, but it was the day one installation plays. They'll expand it some this week.

The team hasn't been bad in the red zone, but the team needs the offense to be excellent in the red zone. 

Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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Freeze said the team is excited to win a game. It was a tough one. They spent a lot of time working on Georgia Southern's option attack, but they didn't show a lot of it. They had to change on the fly. They were able to put it away though. 

It's disappointing to see a senior's career end with injury. It's heartbreaking, and Ole Miss is indebted to them for their service to the university. John Youngblood has been a leader since he arrived. Chad Kelly wanted to rewrite his story, and he's done that. He's changed for the better. Freeze has watched him make an impact to others. They both played like they were indebted to this university. The way they played the game the right way and represented Ole Miss. Now they have to move on without them. It creates challenges and opportunities. Injuries have not been kind to Ole Miss this year, but that happens in football sometimes.

The team was good in the red zone, and they took care of the ball. There were few penalties, and they had explosive plays on offense. Defensively, there were too many explosive plays in the first half. The second half was the best half of the year. Ole Miss will need the defense to play well during the stretch. It was an outstanding game from Fadol Brown, who recorded 14 tackles. 

The blocked punt has to be fixed, but the coverage on punts was the best it has been all year. 

It was a slow start but solid effort. Now they have to play in a difficult place to play against Texas A&M. They'll face another SEC defensive front and they have playmakers on offense. It will be a difficult environment to play in without Chad or John. 

It's difficult to pull a redshirt off a player like Shea Patterson with three games left. All options are on the table. Markell Pack, Evan Engram, Jeremy Liggins were all mentioned as emergency options. He wouldn't rule out taking the redshirt off yet, but he hasn't decided yet. Jason Pellerin will get most of the reps. Shea is one of the most complete QBs that Freeze has seen as a freshman. 

Van Jefferson has a hip pointer. Robert Conyers is going to be what he is. He's suffered through a lot of injuries, and probably doesn't need to play a lot. Rod Taylor and Sean Rawlings are in a waiting game, but they couldn't go if the game was today.

With a week of practice, they can expand the offense more than it was on Saturday. However, it's not going to be like it was with Chad at QB. 

Chad had a difficult day yesterday. It was tough to hear. He said that God has a plan for him, and he'll work hard to come back stronger. He wanted to finish his journey here in a different way.

Freeze thinks that Chad will be remembered as one of the best competitors that have ever played here. He led the team to the Sugar Bowl, and Ole Miss fans won't forget that.

Freeze isn't content or happy with the season, but he's at peace. Maybe it's because of his faith or the the people he's around or being at this university. When you're in the SEC and have some turnovers and injuries, these years can happen. The team has three opportunities left. 

By Alex Sims, Ole Miss Athletics

The Ole Miss Rebels entered Saturday's meeting with Georgia Southern already shorthanded--then defensive captain John Youngblood went down. Then quarterback Chad Kelly went down. And suddenly, Ole Miss found itself fighting off a feisty underdog with one arm tied behind its back.

But even without perhaps the two strongest leaders on either side of the ball, Hugh Freeze's group found a way, holding off the Eagles in a 37-27 victory.

"We learn to celebrate the wins this season," Freeze said. "Everything is a fight. I'm proud of our young men today, shorthanded as we were, and the injuries that occurred today. It's a solid Georgia Southern team, give credit to them. I'm proud of our kids for fighting."

As the Ole Miss head coach said afterward, it has been that kind of year for the Rebels. The injury bug has spread across the field, forcing established starters to switch positions and freshmen to be thrust into action.

Youngblood was one of several players to make a transition, sliding from defensive end to Mike linebacker, but the move lasted just a few snaps. The senior was lost in the second quarter to a dislocated ankle, likely ending his season and his career as a Rebel.

"I don't know the extent of the damage," Freeze said. "Youngblood has been so much, obviously with the loss of his father. He's been a captain, a leader. It stinks to see kids go down to injuries like that to end their season. I don't see how he could (come back) from what I witnessed out there. He's just the model student-athlete. That's why they voted him a captain. It was by a landslide. He's meant a lot to the program."

With Youngblood out, the Rebels had to regroup to stop the tricky triple-option attack of Georgia Southern. But a 68-yard run by Matt Breida put the Eagles up 21-10 early in the second quarter. Then came the turning point. Tight end Hunter Thurley recovered a surprise onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff, and Kelly made the Eagles pay, punching in one of his two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon.

From there, the defense came together, walling off the end zone for the remainder of the game. Ole Miss scored 21 unanswered, capping the run with a 38-yard touchdown connection between Kelly and Evan Engram to make it 31-21 at the half.

Kelly did so with a different man snapping him the ball. Normally positioned at left guard, Javon Patterson shifted over and played his first ever game at center at any level. There were a few hiccups along the way for the sophomore standout, but as one of several players holding down new positions and new roles, Patterson knew his team needed him.

"You just have to make sure you can be versatile," Patterson said. "We have a great group of guys in there and anybody can step up. Young guys have had to step up early this year and they're doing a great job of doing that."

Just when it looked like all was right for the Rebels, adversity struck again. On Ole Miss' first drive of the second half, Kelly had a defender inadvertently roll up on his leg, tweaking his knee. He didn't return but stood on the sidelines for the remainder of the game. His status is uncertain going into next week, but the Rebels know they have a reliable option in redshirt-freshman Jason Pellerin.

Normally brought in as the quarterback of Freeze's jumbo package in short-yardage situations, Pellerin had full command of the Ole Miss offense. He finished with just 19 yards passing and an interception--but he nearly had two scores.

One deep ball landed in the hands of A.J. Brown, only to be stripped away by Darius Jones Jr. and ruled as an interception. Another glanced off the fingertips of Engram in the end zone. Nonetheless, Freeze was happy with the performance of Pellerin, and of course, happy that the Rebels came away 1-0 this weekend.

"We kept them out of the end zone the second half. That was big for us," Freeze said. "It allowed us, with Chad going down, to manage the game with Jason in the second half. I thought he did a nice job. I thought he managed the game well enough to get us to the end of the game with a victory. We'll take it. Our goal was to be 1-0 this week, and we accomplished that. Now we'll try to be 1-0 next week."

Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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12210711.jpegAfter meeting yesterday and watching the film, our kids competed against one of the hottest football teams in the country. They needed a couple more plays. Freeze has zero frustration over effort, but he does over having a recurring problem with stopping the run. 

The team is determined, and the goal is to go 1-0 this week against a talented Georgia Southern team. Georgia Southern gets up to play big teams. Ole Miss has to score touchdowns against them in the red zone with the way the defense has been playing. 

Georgia Southern has talented skill players. They have concerning speed. They can pull and run out of any blocking scheme. Ole Miss has a lot of work to do to get honed in on stopping it. 

Rommel Mageo will start at the Mike linebacker this week. DeMarquis Gates has an MRI scheduled on his knee. He didn't play well on Saturday and wasn't moving well. 

A.J. Brown is getting better. He's going to be a phenomenal wide receiver. His deal is understanding the different leverages in coverage and how that changes a route. He doesn't have a great understanding of that just yet, but that's normal for young receivers. 

The offensive line injury situation is not good right now. Injuries have followed the team around this year. Sean Rawlings is in a boot. His injury hurt them in the red zone because Robert Conyers had to come in with a bad knee. Daronte Bouldin had a hip pointer and wasn't doing well yesterday. Rod Taylor came out of his boot, and they hope he can go on Saturday. It's hard to burn a redshirt so late in the season. 

The students help make the atmosphere in Vaught-Hemingway. However, it bothers him when the team comes out at halftime, and there are empty parts of the student section. He hopes those that leave reconsider. The students play the largest role making the atmosphere difficult to play in for opponents. He loves the student body but wishes they would stick around for the entire game. 

Greg Little and Alex Givens in their first starts both held their own and did very well against a very talented Auburn defensive line.

Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

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For most of the game on Saturday, Auburn's defense had no answer for Ole Miss' signal caller. Even his incompletions were on target. He threw for a school-record 465 yards while adding 40 yards on the ground to eclipse 500 total yards. 

This wasn't against a run-of-the-mill defense, either. Auburn was one of the best defenses in the nation, especially against the pass. The Tigers averaged fewer than 200 yards through the air. Clemson's Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson only managed 248 yards. 

"His performance (ranks) way up there, against that defense," Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said. "They'd given up seven touchdowns all year and caused real problems for quarterbacks. Chad played really well. He battled and fought."

Ole Miss' offense places a large degree of responsibility on the quarterback. On Saturday, Kelly accounted for 89 percent of Ole Miss' yards on the night. Without Kelly playing at the level he was, Ole Miss would have struggled to stay in the shootout.

Ole Miss struggled to get much going with the rushing attack, which meant Auburn's defensive line had the advantage of pinning their ears back. Nearly every time he dropped back to throw, despite the pressure, he put the ball where it needed to be. 

"We were moving it almost at will against one of the better defenses in the country," offensive coordinator Dan Werner said. "Nobody else has put up those kinds of yards or points against them."

Kelly's one real mistake came in the fourth quarter when Joshua Holsey jumped in front of a third-down pass. The play before, Ole Miss had what looked to be a touchdown, but Evan Engram was unable to haul it in.

"We work hard everyday," Kelly said. "Evan makes those catches in his sleep. On the turnover, I can't turn the ball over. Once again, it led to points. We just have to keep fighting."

It was a game where if only a couple plays go differently, Kelly's performance would be one of those that Ole Miss fans remember fondly for years. Really, it still should be. Archie's total yards record was also in a loss against Alabama. Maybe, it will be appreciated down the road. Right now though, it's a game where Ole Miss couldn't take advantage of their best player's best game.

"I hate losing more than anything," Kelly said. "I just want to win. That's all those guys wan to do is just win, too. We don't care about anything else, just winning."

Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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It was not the outcome Ole Miss wanted on Saturday night. Life doesn't get any easier in the SEC West. Auburn is an outstanding football team and maybe the best defensive they've seen this year. Their rushing game is back to what they're known for. It's another great challenge. The team is glad to be back home playing in front of their fans in their stadium.

The team was disappointed that they didn't make enough plays. That's part of the life you live in this conference. The team has to rebound and leaders have to lead. It's easy to see you could lose games because of the talent of the teams they have played. Ole Miss can't afford to make some of the mistakes that they've been making, on both sides of the ball. 

Auburn is very talented, and they have a good system that makes you defend the entire field. They've committed to the run. They're physical and difficult to defend. Their defense gives them a lot of possessions because they don't give up anything. Their front six jump off the page. They're an issue for every team they play. 

When expectations aren't met, it's easy for frustration to build. Ole Miss is playing young kids at some spots. You have to embrace the expectations though. Ole Miss can't give teams anything because of the opponents' talent level.

Overcoming adversity isn't the easiest thing to do. Defensively, Ole Miss is searching for guys to take the leadership role. The offense has to score a lot of points to win and play better. The defense wants to do well. There were glimpses of it early against LSU. The level of play wasn't sustained, though.

The offense presses at times because of the pressure they feel to score every time they get the ball.

Greg Little gets better and better. It's was a tough environment to play in. When he settled in, he did well. He has a bright future.

Fadol Brown played 19 plays. He's determined to give what he can do this team.

Rod Taylor has a high ankle sprain. He's questionable for Saturday. Jordan Sims has been dealing with an ankle injury for a couple of weeks. He re-aggravated it against LSU. He's day-to-day.

Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

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Somehow, the college football regular season is already halfway in the books. With that, many publications released their midseason All-America lists. There's a common theme to each of them at the TE position. Evan Engram.

Engram was selected as the midseason First-Team All-America TE by ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, Sports on Earth and Sporting News.

It's not surprising that Engram was basically a unanimous choice as he's been dynamic this season in the passing game. He's easily the best receiving tight end in the country. His 98.3 receiving yards per game ranks seventh among all Power 5 pass catchers and is more than 30 yards more than the next Power 5 TE. 

He was also named to All-SEC teams by ESPN and SEC Country.


Special Olympics MS - Students at the University of Mississippi are partnering with Special Olympics Mississippi athletes in the 2016 season of SO College unified flag football, which will culminate in the Unified Egg Bowl, a unified sports flag football event designed to bring together Mississippians over their most divided sports rivalry.

Tomorrow (October 19) at 7 p.m., the students and athletes who are competing in the SO College Ole Miss league will host their championship game at the Blackburn-McMurray Outdoor Sports Complex on Insight Park Avenue. Selected athletes from these teams will represent Ole Miss as the Unified Rebels in the Unified Egg Bowl on November 14 at MSU.

The Unified Rebels will face the Unified Bulldogs of MSU in the third annual Unified Egg Bowl in Starkville on November 14 at the intramural fields on Stone Blvd.

The Unified Egg Bowl also features a Fan Fundraising Challenge, pitting fans of MSU and Ole Miss against each other to see who can raise the most money for Special Olympics Mississippi. The fan competition raised more than $15,000 over its first two years.

Jordan Sims Graded as Best SEC Guard of Week 7 by PFF

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Pro Football Focus grades players on a 1-100 scale, and Ole Miss' Jordan Sims was graded out by PFF as having the best performance of any guard in the SEC in week seven. His grade of 81.0 against the Razorbacks was the second-highest of any SEC lineman on the All-Week Seven team.

The full team can be seen here


Notes from Freeze's Press Conference

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There's another SEC road game this week. This one means a lot to our people. They'll let their players know about the history of the matchup between Ole Miss and LSU.

The Arkansas game was frustrating. Ole Miss has to improve to get ready for an LSU team that is super talented. Their offense has rolled up big numbers in the last two games. They're very talented on offense. Defensively, they've always been one of the best in the country. LSU is one of the better teams in the country. It's a great opportunity, and they have to show resolve. They have a lot of work to do this week. They're excited about going to play LSU.

Freeze has reached out to Orgeron several times. They spoke last week. He's indebted to Coach Orgeron because he gave him the opportunity to come to Ole Miss. Freeze's career might not have happened the same way without that opportunity. Orgeron has always been good to him. Orgeron is the most passionate coach that Freeze has ever been around. He came to work every day with that same drive. 

Orgeron seems different with his approach from when he was at Ole Miss, and it's working for him. They've played two games and looked really good.

LSU is playing with great passion. They're multiple on offense now while staying balanced. Their run game has always been good, but they're using their talent at WR now.

Night games on the road in the SEC are all difficult. It's no different in Baton Rouge. They have passionate fans, and it's a large stadium. When it's hard to communicate and when they give energy to the home team, it makes it difficult. 

The team has to prepare like Leonard Fournette is going to play in this game after missing two weeks.

The receivers have played well. It just happened that drops happened in critical times. Sometimes, drops happen. Over the season, the position has been a strength for the team. They were not happy with themselves after the game.

Ole Miss had three critical third downs against Arkansas where a missed tackle gave Arkansas the first. It wasn't always the linebacker fits, but they were inconsistent at times.

The West is extremely strong and deep and talented. It's getting better as the season goes on. 

You find out a lot about your kids after the start to this season. This is a bit foreign when the high expectations are not met early on in the season. You have to go answer the bell. A lot of teams are in the same situation as Ole Miss. Ole Miss has proven that it can win, and it's proven that it can lose. Finding a way to motivate when those losses come is a difficult challenge. Ole Miss has to rally and respond. It's what the school expects and the people deserve.

When you play the quality of teams that Ole Miss has played, you can lose. It doesn't mean you didn't play well all the time. The offense has been good outside of some turnovers. 

He thinks that they had recruited really well under Orgeron when he was at Ole Miss. The staff thought they were close to turning the corner, but they didn't win enough games in the last season. 

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Recent Comments

    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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