Hugh Freeze Press Conference: 09.10

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Hugh Freeze (photo by Joshua McCoy)
Hugh Freeze (photo by Joshua McCoy)

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met with the media Monday and discussed the Rebels' upcoming game against Texas.


Opening Comments:

“We’re very excited about this week. We have one of the nation’s best teams coming into Oxford. Our kids, fans and coaches are excited about the opportunity that it presents. Great respect for Coach Brown and the job he’s done. I’ve always heard of the type of program he runs. I know Manny Diaz does a great job defensively. Offensively, they have as many formations as you can imagine. They try to out-flank you through motions and shifts. They do a very good job with that. Super talented team speed wise. Every position runs extremely well. That’s the most glaring thing when you watch the film. You see the closing speed they have defensively and breakaway speed they have offensively. You’re facing one of the nation’s best, but at the same time it’s a great opportunity. It’s going to be a great environment. Our young kids will hopefully be very excited. The young kids will hopefully show up not too anxious or emotional and play sound football and give us a chance to compete in it.”

On the state of the program:

“The state of our program right now, it’d be hard to say that they’re where we want them to be. We wish we had some more depth and we were more talented at certain spots. For the kids that we have, I wish we would have played four great quarters the other night. Had we done that, I would say we’re as good as we could be going into this game, but we didn’t. It would be hard for me to sit here and say we’re exactly where we want to be. We’re heading into this game knowing that we’ve played two football games and have not really played a complete game. Our kids have put their heart and soul into it. They’re giving us great effort. We’re still playing a lot of young kids and Texas is too. They look a little different, but they’re playing a lot of young kids also.”

On this week’s game approach:

“We’re not going to change a single thing. We’ll approach it the same exact way that I approached games when I was at Lambuth, in other conferences or even in high school. We’ll treat it the same way. Hopefully you won’t notice a difference. Saturday night there will be a little more excitement around. Our young kids will have to handle that emotionally and mentally. We won’t treat our preparation any differently.”

On Bo Wallace and his fame:

“The last thing we want is him thinking he’s a rock star. He’s actually a very humble kid. He’s all boy and can certainly find himself in some situations that all young men can find themselves in. I hope he’s getting it. To be the quarterback at Ole Miss, you’re just not a normal kid from Giles County, Tennessee anymore. He’s played well. Everybody who didn’t recognize him probably does now. That’s something (QB coach) Dan (Werner) and I talk to him quite often about. All joking aside, he’s a very humble kid. Him playing well is not going to his head. It really drives him and he wants to do better. I don’t have to worry about his ego. You do worry about him recognizing the actual magnitude that this position has at a place like Ole Miss.”

On Donte Moncrief:

“He’s done really well. We really felt like going into the game he would probably have more catches than (11) through two games. It’s not his fault, we just didn’t call many passes last week. We had success running the ball and when you rush for the numbers we rushed for, it’s hard to make yourself drop back and throw it around. He’s been very solid and we couldn’t ask for any more. He’s a guy that when the opposing teams watch us they have to account for.”

On offensive line:

“We got better. Aaron Morris improved tremendously. Physically, he’s a guy that we have to have playing well. He definitely improved from week one to week two. Pierce Burton was very solid, as was A.J. Hawkins. Emmanuel McCray played hard. Evan Swindall improved some. We’re still who we are and we’re still thin. They definitely got better, but we still have a ways to go.”

On Bo Wallace as the starting quarterback:

“Bo Wallace is going to start again. He’s the guy we’re going to go with right now. We’ll always have a package ready for Barry Brunetti. He adds something of value to this football team. We’re going to try our best to have him ready because you know in the stuff we do we’re one play away from him being the guy. Maikhail Miller is the same way. It’s not so much that Barry has not performed, Bo has just been solid. He seems like he’s moved us almost every possession he’s been in there. I’m sure you’re not through seeing Barry.”

On David Ash, Texas quarterback:

“It would be very hard for me to comment on that right now. I don’t get to that until tonight. I’ve been studying with the offense this morning. I’ll get in with Dave Wommack and the other coaches tonight. I’ll know more then. In talking over lunch with them, they’re very impressed with how he runs their offense. He’s a great leader. He’s been very efficient in what they’ve asked him to do this year. I expect that he’ll be a very adequate quarterback and he’ll come in here and lead his football team.”

On tempo against UTEP:

“We were really considered with UTEP’s offensive line size, their tailback and their run game. We certainly didn’t want our defense to get run down or play too many snaps. That was the philosophy behind us not going our fastest tempo for consecutive periods of time.”

On Texas special teams:

“We did see their special teams last night. Anytime you play a team that has the team speed they have, their special teams are going to be good. The better the team speed, the better the special teams. They have great team speed. Ours have been solid except for the field goal unit and the muffed punts. Our coverage units and kickoffs have been good. Our punter has been good. We struggle to make field goals when we need them. I’m confident that Bryson Rose will get that worked out. He’s a confident young man and will get that worked out hopefully. The muffed punts, unfortunately that happened to Korvic Neat, but he’ll bounce back and be fine.”

On Vince Sanders contributing in the passing game:

“It will just take time. Show up any Saturday and he’ll be the guy. We just didn’t throw it as much the other night. Who would have thought we would rush for 330? That was the only thing that knocked some of those guys out the other night. It’s just a matter of time before he’s the guy that gets all of the balls on a given night.”

On Gilbert Pena:

“He’s a plugger. He’s going to stay in the A-gap and do his job there. He’s done it very well. I like the leadership that he’s developed in his role. He’s been a really good leader for us.”

On Issac Gross:

“Explosive. He was really explosive. He loves to compete and plays very, very hard every snap. He makes some mistakes and does some things that get him out of position sometimes. He’s a true freshman and you’re going to have that some. You’ll never question his effort, heart and desire to play. I’m really pleased with how he’s coming along.”

On the Manny Diaz defense:

“Probably plays more man now that he’s at Texas than he did when he was at Middle Tennessee. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he has some of the best corners and skill guys in the nation on his football team. He certainly doesn’t mind bringing pressure and bringing it from a lot of different places.”

On playing 29 different guys on defense:

“We’re trying to figure out where they stack up with each other. I do believe you have to keep them fresh. We are playing an awful lot of kids. That will probably tone down some. The inside guys, we’re playing six of those, and they’re all about the same. Defensive end wise we’re trying to keep them fresh and bring Channing Ward along. He got really close the other night to making some explosive plays. We’re going to need that. C.J. Johnson we’re going to keep fresh and not play him a huge number of snaps a game. That front is rotating a lot of guys, as we are at linebacker, secondary is the same. You’ll see that probably a couple of more weeks.”

On having four fumbles against UTEP:

“It’s a great concern. The number one rule of our offense is taking care of the football. The team that wins that turnover ratio usually does well. Every single Sunday we have Ball Security Sunday. We’ll just keep addressing it. I don’t like talking about it. We’ll just keep the positives of it as taking care of the football. Obviously Randall Mackey is new at carrying the football and getting hit a lot. That’s a little new for him. No one feels worse than he does. Barry Brunetti is the same way. We just have to take care of the football and we’ll continue to put an emphasis on it.”

On the status of Collins Moore’s injury:

“Right now we’re exploring what’s best for him. He could play right now. Is it wise to play him? In the doctors’ view, is that shoulder going to go out again? We’re trying to take all of that into consideration before we make this final decision.”

On the importance of having Charles Sawyer in the secondary:

“It’s important to have him on our team. He’s kind of a stabilizing factor. I do believe when things start to get difficult in the course of a game, he’s one that understands how we settle down, calm down and fight through adversity. I think his role in the secondary and on the team is very critical.”

On Trae Elston:

“He’s getting better. We’re trying to bring him along and try not to ask him to do too many things or confuse him. We’re trying to let him play fast. He’s going to be a special player. No question. He’s just a short time removed from high school and playing against some really talented kids. I don’t want to put any crazy expectations on him at this point. There’s no doubt he’s coming along and getting better.”

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