Freeze Era Begins At Ole Miss
2012 Ole Miss Football Guide cover

July 24, 2012

Order 2012 Football Guide | View 2012 Football Guide

The 2012 Ole Miss football guides are now available to purchase and view. This year's guide features new head coach Hugh Freeze on the front cover, as Freeze looks to "win the day" and build the Rebel program to compete at a championship level once again.

The inside front cover features a rendering of the Forward Together campaign that will revamp Ole Miss' football and basketball facilities.

The inside back cover highlights some of the top former Rebels in professional football today - two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, five-time Pro Bowler Patrick Willia, Super Bowl XLV participant Mike Wallace, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Michael Oher.

The guide includes player and coach profiles, opponent profiles, series records, all-time history and school records, and much more. It also includes a 2012 season outlook, which you can read below.

FREEZE ERA BEGINS

Hugh Freeze has been a winner at every level he has coached. Include his inspirational personality and lifelong love for Ole Miss, and it is easy to see why the Mississippi native was the first choice of the search committee to find the Rebels' new head coach.

After directing Arkansas State to its best season in school history in 2011, Freeze is tasked with restoring his homestate's flagship program to prominence. Since posting consecutive Cotton Bowl victories, Ole Miss has totaled just six wins the past two seasons, forcing the change in leadership.


 

 

"This is my dream job," said Freeze, the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year. "Ole Miss has won national titles, SEC titles and ranks top 25 all-time in bowl appearances and bowl wins. There is a championship tradition here, and we are going to return it to that level and do it with energy, passion and a positive attitude."

He inherited a team that returns 58 lettermen, including 27 on offense, 26 on defense and five specialists. That group received immediate help in the spring with the addition of four, talented mid-year transfers.

The first step for Freeze was to address conditioning. To lead that transformation, he turned to strength coach Paul Jackson, who brought an impressive resume from Southern Miss and LSU, among other stops.

"Paul Jackson is a rising star in the strength and conditioning world, and he made an instant impact in the mental and physical toughness of our players," Freeze said.

Conditioning was key as players adjusted to Freeze's fast tempo of practice in the spring. Overall, he was pleased with what was accomplished over the 15 workouts, which concluded with a spirited overtime scrimmage in the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl on April 24.

"I don't think we got everything installed that we wanted to, but I do think we made the most out of the days we had," said Freeze. "We chose to stop, stall and try to get better at certain things, and I think we did that. I don't know if you ever get everything in that you want, but I do think we made the most out of our time."

Tempo is again the key word when referencing Freeze's offense, which has been fast-paced and high-scoring throughout his career.

"We will go very fast," he said. "We need a lot of receivers to catch balls and quarterbacks and running backs to get a lot of touches."

OFFENSE

Ole Miss returned seven starters from an offense that struggled last year. Among the highlights of the unit are receivers Donte Moncrief, a 2011 freshman All-America honoree, and Ja-Mes Logan, who was named the most outstanding offensive player of spring drills.

Sophomore Collins Moore has shown flashes, while sophomores Vince Sanders and Tobias Singleton and juniors Terrell Grant, Philander Moore and Korvic Neat have gotten acclimated to Freeze's wide-open attack.

New to the slot in the spring was senior Randall Mackey, who was moved from behind center to be ensured more touches. The former JUCO All-American quarterback could also take snaps at his original position as well as running back in the fall.

Both starting tight ends returned in seniors Jamal Mosley and Ferbia Allen, who hauled in 12 and six catches last season, respectively. Hard-working senior E.J. Epperson moved from the backfield back to his original position of tight end in the spring for depth.

The biggest question mark entering preseason is at quarterback, where junior Barry Brunetti and sophomore transfer Bo Wallace are in a dead heat for the starting job.  Brunetti started the Rebels' first and last games in the fall, while Wallace led East Mississippi Community College to a national championship, shattering NJCAA single-season passing records.

In the BancorpSouth Grove Bowl, Brunetti rushed for a game-high 136 yards (14 att.) and passed for 62 yards (4-of-10), while Wallace threw for 240 yards (16-of-26) and two touchdowns.

Returning leading rusher Jeff Scott has been an all-purpose weapon his first two seasons and that should only continue in the new offense. The junior running back ran for 529 yards and six TDs and finished eighth in the SEC in all-purpose yards in 2011.

Seniors Devin Thomas and H.R. Greer, sophomore Nick Parker and a talented group of incoming freshmen must provide depth in the backfield, as Ole Miss prepares for life after Brandon Bolden. The New England Patriots signee finished his career second in school history in rushing and total touchdowns and third in all-purpose yards.

There are also personnel to replace on the offensive line, including a pair of NFL tackles in Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie, who bypassed his senior season to enter the draft. Massie was a fourth-round selection of Arizona, while Sowell signed with Tampa Bay.

Five returning offensive linemen have each started five or more games in their career, including junior starting center Evan Swindall. Senior A.J. Hawkins and sophomore Aaron Morris have settled in at the guards, while a pair of potential first-time starters, junior Emmanuel McCray and mid-year JUCO transfer Pierce Burton, have taken the lead at the tackles.

Juniors Patrick Junen and Jared Duke have valuable starting experience, while JUCO transfer Derrick Wilson, sophomore Chase Hughes and redshirt freshman Justin Bell are hungry for snaps on the line.

DEFENSE

Defensively, Ole Miss ranked 22nd in the nation in stopping the pass a year ago, and that secondary will be relied upon in a Freeze defense that will utilize multiple packages. Headlining the group is junior safety Charles Sawyer, who finished fourth in the SEC in passes defended and seventh in interceptions and is one of six returning starters on defense.

A potential strength of the defense could be at cornerback led by a pair of Copiah-Lincoln Community College products. Senior Wesley Pendleton, who started 10 games last year, was selected by the coaches as the most outstanding defensive player of spring drills, while junior Dehendret Collins jumped immediately into action after arriving on campus in January. Also in the mix at corner are sophomores Cliff Coleman and Senquez Golson, who spent his spring with the Rebel baseball team, along with redshirt freshman Abdul Bangura.

Senior Tanner Burns and redshirt freshman Chief Brown have emerged as the leading candidates at free safety, while junior Brishen Mathews has taken the lead at the Huskie position. Sophomore Cody Prewitt, who started the final five games of the fall and battled injuries in the spring, senior Ivan Nicholas and junior Frank Crawford will also compete for snaps in the secondary.

At the Stinger position, senior Aaron Garbutt, who started nine games in his first season in the Red and Blue, and redshirt freshman Denzel Nkemdiche impressed in the spring. Injuries cost sophomore Keith Lewis the entire spring, but he could also be in the picture as the season nears.

At Mike linebacker, 2011 All-SEC honoree and leading tackler Mike Marry supplied leadership this offseason, particularly with junior D.T. Shackelford missing spring drills following a second surgery on his left knee in January. Shackelford is hopeful for a healthy return in August. Senior Joel Kight, who boasts 114 career tackles and 15 starts the last two years, and sophomores Ralph Williams and Serderius Bryant provide strong experience in the linebacking corps.

On the defensive line, the coaches are looking to revive the "Landshark" attack and have seen potential in sophomore Bryon Bennett, a returning starter at tackle. Senior Uriah Grant, who started seven games as a junior college transfer last year, was limited in the spring with injuries but is expected to be a factor in the interior along with redshirt freshman Woodrow Hamilton, senior Gilbert Pena and sophomore Carlton Martin.

At defensive end, sophomore C.J. Johnson continues his development after moving from linebacker in the fall. Junior Cameron Whigham and seniors Gerald Rivers and Jason Jones, who received the 2012 Chucky Mullins Courage Award, are all candidates on the edge. One of the most heralded signees of the 2012 signing class, prep All-American Channing Ward brings a wealth of talent to the end position and headlines some athletic incoming linemen.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Special teams remains a strength of the Rebels, led by 2010 NCAA punting champion and two-time All-SEC senior Tyler Campbell. In addition, senior kicker Bryson Rose has made 25-of-29 career field goals and 65-of-67 PATs, while senior Andrew Ritter is one of the SEC's best at kickoffs, helping the team rank second in kickoff coverage last season. There is also experience at long snapper with Will Denny, who started all 12 games as a freshman a year ago.

In the return game, Scott has established himself as a weapon during his career, ranking 20th in the country in kickoff returns in 2010 and helping Ole Miss finish third as a team nationally in punt returns in 2011. Singleton futher strengthens the return game after finishing sixth in the SEC in kickoffs last year.

SCHEDULE

Freeze's first season will certainly be a challenging one, as Ole Miss faces what is considered by many media as the toughest schedule in the Southeastern Conference. The Rebels battle nine teams that earned bowl bids last year, including road games at the two national championship game participants in LSU and Alabama. The conference slate also includes trips to Arkansas and Georgia and home games against Texas A&M, Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.

The non-conference schedule is highlighted by an Oxford meeting with Texas, marking the first matchup with the Longhorns since 1966. It will wrap up a three-game, season-opening homestand. The second of those three games is UTEP, meaning Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will play host to three teams from the Lone Star state. Rounding out the non-league games is the season opener against Central Arkansas and a tradition-rich trip to New Orleans for Tulane in game four.

    • Madlock's Experience to Lead Rebels Down the Stretch

      Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      By Brian Scott Rippee Tony Madlock has over 20 years of coaching experience at the Division I level. Madlock was in his fourth year as an assistant coach for former head coach Andy Kennedy's staff before assuming the role of... read more

    • SIDEBAR: A Look Back at an Ole Miss Sweep of Winthrop

      Sunday, February 18, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - Grae Kessinger got just enough of the bat on a breaking ball on the outside corner from Winthrop's Dalton Whitaker. The ball squirted towards the hole on the left side and grazed the outstretched glove of Eagle... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Clutch Hitting Drives Rebels in Game 2

      Saturday, February 17, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - The pitch came out of Winthrop's Colton Rendon's hand at 81 mph with the intention of breaking but hung as it floated towards Cole Zabowski at the plate. The sophomore first baseman turned and crushed it... read more

    • SIDEBAR: Rolison, Rebels Roll Past Winthrop in Opener

      Friday, February 16, 2018 - Baseball

      OXFORD, Miss - A dominant summer in the Cape Cod League brought forth some lofty expectations for Ole Miss' Ryan Rolison, something he's never shied away from.The sophomore lefty certainly lived up to them on opening day as he put... read more

    • Rebel Alums: Where are They Now

      Thursday, February 15, 2018 - Men's Tennis

      In our second installment of Rebel Alums: Where are They Now, we take a look at the All-American twin duo of Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann.In 2012, Marcel Thiemann became the fourth player in Ole Miss men's tennis history to... read more

    • Baseball Releases 2018 Walk Out Songs

      Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - Baseball

      With the first pitch of the 2018 season just days away, check out the much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by tagging @OleMissBSB and using the hashtag #RebWalkOuts.#1 Jacob Adams:... read more

    • Bianco Previews 2018 Team At Media Day

      Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - Baseball

      By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com Mike Bianco spoke with a sense of excitement in his voice as he stood at a podium in the Diamond Club seating area at Swayze Field at media day. Ole Miss opens its 2018... read more

    • Kennedy Leaves Ole Miss Better Than He Found It

      Monday, February 12, 2018 - Men's Basketball

      By Brian Scott Rippee, OleMissSports.com One of the first things Andy Kennedy said on Monday afternoon following the announcement that he would step down at the end of next season is that he felt a sense of calmness and... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Outfield

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Softball

      The final edition of our Ole Miss softball preview looks at the Rebel outfield, a speedy and athletic group that head coach Mike Smith is excited about heading into the 2018 season.Left Field: Elantra CoxThe senior is an electric... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Pitchers

      Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Softball

      Part two of our Ole Miss softball preview takes a look at the Rebel pitchers. This group was headlined by Kaitlin Lee last season with Brittany Finney, Morgan Bruce and others providing solid options as well. Head Coach Mike... read more

    • Softball Season Preview: Infield

      Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Softball

      Coming off the most successful season in program history, Ole Miss Softball begins its 2018 season on Friday. The Rebels come into the season ranked as high as 15th in the country and were on the cusp of reaching... read more

    • FRESH FACES: Softball's Abbey Latham

      Friday, February 2, 2018 - Softball

      In the 10th and final of a 10-part series introducing the Ole Miss softball newcomers for the 2018 season, Friday's profile features first baseman/designated player Abbey Latham. Abbey Latham | 1B/DP | R/R | 5-11 | Fr. | Livingston,... read more

    • Scholtz Looks Forward to Davis Cup

      Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Men's Tennis

      OXFORD, Miss. - While his alma mater kicks off a big weekend with two home matches at their brand new indoor tennis center, Rebel All-American Nik Scholtz will be representing his home country, South Africa, in Davis Cup at the... read more

    • National Team Training Camp an Eye-Opening Experience for Kizer

      Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Soccer

      OXFORD, Miss. - CeCe Kizer established herself as one of the SEC's premier attacking players in 2017, and last month she showcased her skills at an even higher level at a training camp with the United States Under-23 National Team.The week-long training... read more

    • #RebsBSB Season Preview: Bullpen

      Thursday, February 1, 2018 - Baseball

      The bullpen was undoubtedly the backbone of Ole Miss' 2017 team. The Rebels had arguably the strongest bullpen in the SEC, one with a variety of different arms with closer Dallas Woolfolk anchoring the back end as the team's... read more

OFFICIAL STORE

GET SOCIAL

Twitter

  • Loading Tweets...
    1 second ago

Instagram

Facebook