Hugh Freeze Press Conference: 10.01

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

Oct. 1, 2012

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

Video

Opening Statement:

“I was thrilled when watching the film. Our kids are playing with great energy and passion, but there are a lot of mistakes. The next step in our program is to get into the fourth quarter with some of these conference opponents that are really good teams and us learn from that regardless of the outcome. In order to do that, we have to eliminate mistakes and turnovers. We’ve certainly come a long way in the area of effort, attitude and who they believe we are. The next step is for us as coaches to help eliminate the mistakes that are prohibiting us from getting a chance late in the game to go for the win. That’s another issue we’re going to have to cross. It’s been a while since our kids have been in that situation. We’re excited about the opportunity to get back out. Hopefully there was some confidence that was built. We’re looking forward to being back at home and playing a great opponent in Texas A&M, who has gained quite a bit of confidence since the beginning of the year. One of the keys is great quarterback play. Ours is suspect right now and theirs is very, very steady. The system that they run fits him very well. We’ve got our hands full with them. We’re glad it’s at home and look forward to getting back out.”

On the toughness of the team versus Alabama:

”I hope it’s just part of the process. It’s something we preach to them. You have to be tough and physical to compete in this conference. We’re undersized, but you can still run around and be physical. I have to give a lot of credit to (strength) Coach Paul Jackson and his staff. That’s something they talk about daily when the kids are in there with them. We knew that they were going to be physical and if you don’t match that, it’s going to be a long night. They understood that. We played a more physical brand of football, particularly defensively.”

On problems with special teams and giving up a 99-yard kick return:

“It starts with the kickoff. Our kicker slipped. It was a line drive. It had no hang time whatsoever. They caught it on the first bounce. We were barely across the 40 when he got it. They do a good job of blocking their scheme. The guy never had to change directions. He hit it 100 miles per hour. We had two guys who still could have made the tackle and did not. They did not get blocked and they had a chance to make the play. It would have still been a good return for them. It doesn’t have to be what it was. It was a combination of us not making the play and a poor kick. Everyone was pretty much in their lanes. The problem with kickoffs is if he hits it clean, we’re going to have a tough time running him down. The other two kickoffs were really good that we covered. We had them inside the 25 both times. The one was a momentum changer. That was a dagger to us at that point in the game. The punt team had issues. We had a bad punt. The other was a bad protection that caused him to have to change his mechanics. We’ve got to get that cleaned up. We didn’t have a chance to return anything. We tried one, but they have great hang time and they kick it in the back of the end zone.”

On the reaction from recruits after the Alabama game:

“We’ll find out more tonight on our Monday night calls to recruits. Some of our commitments called and they were pleased. They said they felt like everything you’re telling me is we can get it done here. Now they’re starting to see some evidence of that. If we can add some quality depth to us, the journey gets a lot faster. It’s been a very good response thus far. We’ll know more after tonight.”

On the challenge the defense will face with Texas A&M’s quarterback:

“It’s a totally different challenge. That’s something you have to guard against because our kids hear everything. This is a whole different beast this week. They’re going to try to put you on an island and expose that they’re better athletes than you. They’ve been very successful in doing that. They’re two completely different systems. It’s a challenge that is certainly concerning.”

On bad throwing decisions by Bo Wallace:

“The first one he was out of the pocket. He should throw it away, but he threw it right to them. His mechanics were awful on it. He’d be the first to say that to you. The second one he was just being greedy and thinking that Donte (Moncrief) was going to go up and make a play. You have to throw it outside where he has a shot at it instead of throwing it inside where a safety can make a play. I would have loved to see him take the underneath route and let’s live to see another down with the ball in our hands. No one feels worse about it than he does. He understands it has to stop.”

On the growth of Denzel Nkemdiche and Cody Prewitt:

“Those two are two that I know have bought in. I know that they want to compete at a high level. They want to see this program change before they leave here. They show it in the way they play, prepare and study. I couldn’t be more pleased in their performance, with who they are and what they’re meaning to our program.”

On the quarterback approach this week:

“We’re going to work hard this week to find out who prepares the best, feels the most confident with the game plan and can hopefully move our football team down the field. Hopefully we won’t put our defense in bad positions time and time again. Interceptions are part of the game. As a quarterback you have to have a short memory and forget about them. You have to move on. If it’s a reoccurring pattern on bad decisions or bad throws, then we as coaches have to explore other avenues. I hope that’s not the case. I want all of our quarterbacks to play and all of them to do well. Dan (Werner) and I are going to prepare them like that. We have to do a better job, maybe with figuring out what they don’t feel comfortable throwing. I don’t think that was the case the other night. We’ve got to find more consistent play out of that room.”

On the difference in Ole Miss and Texas A&M’s spread offense:

“We could make ours look exactly like theirs. Kevin (Sumlin) and I are friends. I don’t like playing friends, but you have to do it. He’ll want to beat us badly and we’ll want to get our win, also. We do a lot of the same stuff. We probably do a little bit more than he does because I feel like we have to. They do what they do and they do it very well. We’re very similar.”

On the most impressive thing about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel:

“It is definitely his ability to extend the play. He has a lot of things that are impressive. He has great speed and mobility. At the end of the day, the guy finds a way to extend play after play. Then it ends up being a dagger to you. He extends it and scores touchdowns. That’s the most concerning thing.”

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