Hugh Freeze Press Conference: 09.09

Hugh Freeze

Hugh Freeze

Sep 9, 2013

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met with the media on Monday and discussed the Rebels' home-opening victory against SEMO and the upcoming road game at Texas.

BLOG: Preparing For Texas

Opening statement:

"We're excited to be 2-0 and to be going to Austin. It will be a great atmosphere, and they (Texas) will have a chip on their shoulder. Texas will be ready to prove that they are better than they performed last week. We understand what we'll get from them. We'll have to challenge our kids to see if we can raise our game and match Texas' level of intensity. It'll be a hostile environment, and we have to prepare for several in a row. But it'll be a good experience for us, and I know our kids and coaches are looking forward to it and we're ready to go."

On change in coordinators at Texas:

"It certainly is an uncomfortable feeling. We already had a shell of a game plan together based on what they had done last year and early this year. Is it still a good plan? I don't know. Greg Robinson has been in this a lot of years. He's been there so he probably knows their terminology. We've watched his stuff from other schools where he's been. It is quite a bit different than what they have been doing. We've got to be who we are and try and figure it out, particularly on third down and in the red zone. A coach that's been in it this long, he'll have his ideas on what he should do with the talent that he has there. It does present an uncomfortable feeling on if we truly have a solid game plan. There's probably no way that I can answer that until we get there. I've never experienced this before. It is an unknown. Whether or not it's a great challenge I don't know, but it is somewhat of an uncomfortable feeling."

On expecting a lot of change: 

"That's my gut. But then you think that he's been there since June and knows the terminology. The situational changes are the ones that sometimes are really important. I usually go into a game and have a good idea of what you're going to get on third down, this one not so much. I don't think it can be a whole cell system change, but I do think he can spend some time getting his stuff ready for those situations. We've got to get first downs to stay on the field, that's the part that is the uncomfortable feeling."

On Robinson's coaching style:

"BYU had a good plan, and they have some good players. Their quarterback is a phenomenal player. You never know exactly what their plan was. When you watch Robinson's plan at other places, Syracuse was different than Michigan. You also never know if it was the head coach's call or his. At Syracuse, you would think that was his flavor since he was the head coach. That's several years ago and the game has changed, so it's kind of hard to say."

On Texas' emotions:

"I expect them to be very emotional in front of their home crowd and they'll raise their game. I expect to see them as the best that they can be. I don't think it'll be hard to get our guys up, they understand. We challenged them after the game the other night so they'll be anxious to get ready for this game and give it our best shot."

On Charles Sawyer

"I haven't talked with him yet, but I'm going to meet with him. He's left me a message. He is very emotional and disappointed in himself, and we're disappointed in his decision. Young kids make mistakes. He's one of the finest kids on our team, but he made a mistake and there will be consequences. We'll make a decision in house. I've never discussed exactly what the consequences are, and I'll make the decision that's best for our team and hopefully correct future decisions we all make."

On Bo Wallace and Jeff Scott's chemistry:

"There is never a day that goes by where they don't have running mesh drills. Because that is such a big part of who we are, I think it's all about the number of reps they've been able to accumulate over the course of a year and a half. They've got it down pretty good."

On holes in the defense: 

"We've changed some of the blocking schemes, and who we're reading. We're ready to make sure it's not always the same guy that the quarterback is reading. We've been saving some of that though so hopefully that will be beneficial to us."

On Rebel offense vs. Texas defense: 

"I told our staff `let's stop, and go through the week like we normally would.' We'll study and continue to study. It's not a big challenge for our kids, and I'll be open to change. But we have to be who we are and certainly not go in with our kids being confused. You have to be careful not to overthink it."

On keys to defense: 

"We've got to quit allowing the easy scores. We allowed two that resonate on my mind. We had one of those the other night. Hopefully we can stop the run, that'll be our goal going in. We were not able to do that last year against them. We've got to be able to stop the run and not give up the easy score. They have some weapons and a lot of speed. They can also certainly throw it over the top of you any time. Hopefully we get a couple turnovers and we don't give up the easy play."

On recruiting in Texas:

"Recruiting in Texas has been big to us; we've certainly picked up some momentum there. Going over there and doing well would provide dividends."

On team this year vs. last year's: 

"It's hard to say. We're certainly deeper at some spots, and mentally I do think we are further along. I think having year a half with Bo playing is good, after Texas last year he played some very big games at good places in this league. So I believe that has got to better prepare him for Saturday's game. We think that the same goes for the rest of our team. I feel confident that we're better prepared. I'm confident that we're better prepared both mentally and physically."

On possible quick success with Greg Robinson: 

"I don't know the relationship the players had with both Manny and Greg. But Greg has got great experience. The last time he was the defensive coordinator at Texas they won 11 games. So we know that he will give his best in preparing those kids. But it's still hard to say since I don't know how it's been. I would think a veteran coach like that has a lot of wisdom, and if anyone could have success it'd be someone who is familiar with the kids, which he should be. But he could have some great ideas that are unknown to us, which could lead to success for them."

On defense:

"I hope we're at a point that our kids can prepare to compete at a high level. Last week showed that. Last year, I felt we did not play particularly well against UTEP here. We won the game but the kids may have been somewhat fragile after the year before. So we were careful to celebrate every victory, but were careful in order to build confidence. This year I took a different approach to be truthful with them, and let them know where I perceive us to be. If they respond to that, we'll go and compete, but if not we probably won't win very many games anyways. But I think they'll respond. I feel confident that we don't have to remind them of what occurred defensively last year."

On Texas-Ole Miss series: 

"A lot of this is whether our conference stays with eight, or goes to nine games (in conference play). If our conference decides to stay with eight, I do think one game outside of your conference that draws national interest is good for your program. Particularly if we can have two more recruiting seasons before we get to that point.  Something that draws national attention is good for our kids, good for our program, good for our fans and good for our conference. I'm very open to it. We've got another one next year at a neutral site. But I think our fans will be very excited to see us open in Atlanta next year."

On learning after last year: 

"You never like to lose like we did in that game. The one thing that I'll say about our team last year is that they responded every single week. Whether it was responding to difficult loses of a large margin our not, our team responded every single time. They played extremely hard the next week every time. I expect to see the same this year. There was great knowledge that came out of that game. I thought they played hard in that game. Playing in the system works on defense, and we taught them to keep their eyes in the right place or good teams are going to make you pay."

On personnel changes at cornerback: 

"We are who we are. We have a couple of more moves we're considering. It will probably take some time to get people comfortable. We'll get those kids better. Hilton played a good game last night. He practiced at corner for about three days, and still had a solid game other than one play."

On Serderius Bryant's performance: 

"Bryant was phenomenal, and played a real good game. Jared Duke was solid. Robert Conyers was really good, and it was good to see him. Laremy had a really good game. Keithe Lewis also had a good game, and DT had a good game. We had some good performances defensively. We were able to stop the run and just gave up those two big pass plays. We had a kid run right by it. But I thought they played well and had great effort."

On return of I'Tavius Mathers:

"It gives us more of a physical back. He made some good runs the other night. He's still not 100 percent. Hopefully he'll be better Saturday night, but we like his style, and hes a good compliment to Jeff and Jaylen."

On Jaylen Walton and I'Tavius Mathers

"We always are prepared to do that. You have to believe they're going to work hard on stopping the run. I heard on coach Brown's phone conference earlier that is the priority. What that means, I don't know but we'll figure that out early. I'm not big on beating my head against the wall if a team does something to stop us. We'd like to get all three of them some caries. But we've rested Jeff and taken care of him and he's a senior, he's been in these battles, and he'll be the main guy."

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