Hugh Freeze Press Conference: 09.17

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Hugh Freeze (Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications)
Hugh Freeze (Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications)

Sept. 17, 2012

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


Opening Statement:

“We’ve got to go back to work and forget about Saturday. There are some positive things on the film. There are obviously a lot of things we’ve got to get corrected. I’m disappointed in the times where we did not fit plays properly. We gave up a lot of big plays over the top. On the other hand, there were times where we fit it perfectly and physics took over and they still got five yards. It’s hard to battle that part of it. The times where we didn’t fit it properly, we have to get those fixed. Offensively we had a few too many negative plays. We had nine negative plays, which got us of course. When you have third-and-long against a group like that, you’re going to have a long afternoon. There were a lot of positives too. The real positive that everyone saw was that our kids did fight. They did battle for 60 minutes. Unfortunately we were not able to keep the game close and let our crowd be that 12th man. It was electric. The crowd was phenomenal. I wish we could have gotten to the fourth quarter and been down by only a couple of scores. We were moving the football. We wish we could have let them get behind us some, but we weren’t able to do that. We’re excited about getting back on the field so we can get this taste out of our mouth. We’re going to see if we can improve, clean up some of our mistakes and travel down to Tulane and get a win.”

On Texas’ size causing problems for Ole Miss:

“You always hope that you can create some movement that would cause some problems. There were times when that did occur. They were a very physical football team, even their backs. There were times when you thought it looked like a one-yard gain but it was actually a five-yard gain. When you’re playing with second-and-five, you can be a pretty good offensive football team. Having not played them I was not really sure how they would be. You look at the physics of it. Their weight against our weight up front, that’s a concern. You have to give credit to them. They had a plan of what they wanted to do and executed it very well.”

On correcting the defensive fits:

“They practiced it over and over. I went and checked the practice scripts. When you’re in a game like that and you’re trying to create a lot of different movements, the goal is to get some penetration and some stops. It’s a little confusing to the different fits that you have. That’s the job that we as coaches have to do. If you think it’s going to be confusing, you don’t carry it in the game plan. That was the case at times. It was a mixture of fitting it properly and getting things done. Sometimes we didn’t fit it properly.”

On Tulane:

“It’s really two different teams. I don’t pay much attention to last year because it is a totally new staff. I watched the Rutgers game and am very impressed with them, particularly defensively. They held Rutgers to 150 yards rushing. You can tell that (Tulane coach Curtis Johnson) is very comfortable facing that type of offense coming from the NFL. He understands how to fit the power game and did a great job doing that. They have a tremendous defensive lineman, number 92. He could play for anyone. His kids played extremely hard in that game. They got up to Tulsa and experienced a little adversity with some of the things Tulsa did. It was a little different from what they had faced week one. Then there was that horrible injury as we all know. That kind of changed the dynamics of that game. Their quarterback also got hurt in that one. He’s doing a very good job and his kids are playing hard and they’re really sound. They want to throw the football around. Not sure what the status of their quarterback is right now or what the backup situation is like. We’ll have to be prepared for what we’ve seen thus far. Defensively, I’m really impressed with their scheme and their aggressiveness.”

On watching Jaylen Walton’s 100-yard kickoff return on film:

“Wow. It was pretty special. It was a phenomenal effort. I couldn’t tell live exactly how the blocking really was. I knew his effort was phenomenal, but you watch the film and see the hustle that’s occurring with guys making second blocks after their initial block down the field. That’s the type of effort we’re going to have to play with. I was really pleased with that.”

On playing on the road after a loss:

“I love that. We would rather be at home, but there’s something about coming off a disappointing loss where I like going on the road. It’s a process of getting ready to play another game and getting this bitter taste out of your mouth. I think going on the road increases your focus with that. Our kids had a good week last week. We might have been a little loose Friday night. I want them loose, but there’s a difference in being loose and being goofy. Friday night we were kind of border line with that, particularly some of young kids. Going on the road will help with that preparation.”

On defensive personnel changes and Trae Elston:

“As long as everything goes like we think it’s going to go this week, Trae will probably start for us at safety. We’re going to move Charles Sawyer and Quintavius Burdette to corner. We’re going to continue to work with the guys that we have. Ivan Nicholas will be back with us this week from his injury. He will play in the safety slot also, along with Cody Prewitt, Chief Brown and Trae Elston.”

On decision to move Charles Sawyer to corner:

“He’s a little tentative at safety. You can tell it wasn’t his natural deal. It just wasn’t something that came natural to him. He gives us a longer corner with a little more experience. We’re going to try him out there. We’re playing those corners too many snaps. We need more bodies. It doesn’t do anything to any of them except decrease some of their snaps. We still need all of those corners to run around in this league and play. We’ve just got to be more physical at corner and stay with the receiver. There were two balls that were right there. We lose contact with the receivers, and they go up and make a play just like Donte (Moncrief) does and the rest of our receivers will hopefully do. We just have to keep drilling technique. A couple of times we were beat. Several times we were right there, we just have to make a play.”

On targeting recruits at certain positions and what to do leading up to signing day:

“The focus at every position is there is a size-speed ratio that you have to figure in when you’re recruiting in this league. You can have a phenomenal player, but there is a size-speed ratio at these positions. You have to have some mass to you. That’s going to be a criteria for whatever position we’re looking at. We have certain needs in the secondary and at linebacker and defensive end. We would love to get another interior guy also. The priorities haven’t changed. It’s just reminded me of the priority of knowing what we’re looking for and I’ve reminded our coaches of the certain size-speed ratio that you need in this league to play and be effective.”

On addressing linebacker depth issues:

“We’re looking at all situations and possibilities there. You guys will probably see us try a few different things at practice this week. I really don’t want to comment on them until we make it final. We’re looking at all of our different possibilities there.”

On Jeff Scott’s fast start:

“Our offense, going at the pace we go sometimes, gives him an advantage to somewhat get lost in the quickness of the play. He can kind of hide in there behind and wait for a crease to open. He’s pretty explosive once that crease does open. It’s a combination of his talent and the scheme. He’s certainly off to a good start.”

On Trae Elston stepping into the starting lineup:

“He’s as talented as we have. In the future, you would hope our program gets to a point where we don’t have to start a bunch of true freshmen unless they really deserve it. He does deserve it in the situation we’re in. His size-speed ratio is what you look for. He’ll run and hit and he competes. It’s just a matter of him being the best fit for us right now. He’s going to make some mistakes, he’s a freshman. He’s going to help us back there. He would have helped us the other night no doubt.”

On whether pass coverage issues were more about secondary or lack of pass rush:

“Anytime you give up the number of explosive plays that we did it’s a combination. The quarterback had enough time to throw his play passes that’s for sure. That makes it difficult when you’re trying to fit the run off of play action and play coverage. You’re going to be on some islands at times. He did have an awful long time to throw some balls.”

On Donte Moncrief’s night against Texas:

“He had a great night. Were it not for a reverse call and a whistle being blown on an offside deal, his night would have been huge. He’s that type of player. We’ve said that all along. He’s a guy that we have to have involved in our offense. We’ve got to get the other kids more involved to help him be more successful. Hopefully we can do that this week.”

On how smaller guys can earn more time at running back:

“We’re going to try to get those guys the ball. The disadvantage is the same thing we’ve been talking about. If he’s in there for a consistent amount of time we’re going to have to ask him to pass pro also. I don’t question Jeff (Scott)’s or Jaylen (Walton)’s heart at all with that. We had defensive ends the other night that are 6-5 and 280 pounds. Those kids weigh about 160 pounds. You’re always trying to manage getting them touches. Are we asking for something that’s not possible? That’s the state of what we’re in right now. We have to manage all of that. They seem to make good things happen when their hands are on the ball.”

On concern with other receivers not getting enough touches because of the success of Donte Moncrief:

“I just want to make sure we spread the ball around. I don’t tell anyone to throw it to Donte. I just tell them to read their progressions.

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