Hugh Freeze Press Conference: 10.15

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Freeze was doused with water bottles after Saturday's win over Auburn (photo by Joshua McCoy).
Freeze was doused with water bottles after Saturday's win over Auburn (photo by Joshua McCoy).

Oct. 15, 2012

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met with the media Monday via teleconference. The Rebels are on a bye this week before a road game at Arkansas (in Little Rock) next Saturday.

Opening Statement:

“We’re obviously thrilled to get that first SEC win, to go into an open week and build upon it. Recruiting on the road seems to be a little better when you’re coming off of a conference one, particularly when it is our first in a while at Ole Miss. Obviously we’re not there yet, but we were good enough Saturday to win and hopefully we can build on it.”

On injuries:

“Mike (Hilton) had a concussion. He is in his second stage of tests to get released from that. We feel like everything will be fine there. He’ll probably even practice before the week is up. Aaron Morris’ X-rays were negative. He’s just going to be sore, but he’ll be fine. Jamal Mosley has a knee that is tender and we had to drain. He’s going to be OK and will finish the year. He might have a slight tear or something, but he’s not going to miss anything. He just may be tender from time to time.”

On continuing to make improvements:

“We’ll continue to improve on special teams. We’ve improved our punt unit pretty good. We’ve got to continue to work on the areas of special teams. I met with the offensive and defensive staff today. We’re going to really work hard on our third down plan. We have to win third down. We’re one of the better in the conference offensively. It has decreased the last couple of weeks. We’re going to put a great emphasis on some fundamental stuff. Special teams and third down will be practiced everyday in detail.”

On keeping the players focused through all of the excitement surrounding the program:

“It’s tough to completely do that. Your team typically takes on the personality of your staff. I assure you when they come and spend time with us, they won’t hear any of that. They’ll only hear about preparing us to be better against Arkansas. That’s the best and only way I know to go about it. I don’t like to talk about it. I could go before them all the time and tell them not to pay attention to it and not let that get to them. I’d rather them just see us be businesslike in our approach. That’s probably the most effective and efficient way.”

On plans during the off week:

“We had a meeting this morning. We’re going to spend some actual team time on academics. I want to remind everyone that we inherited a bad situation academically with about 25 kids. Just because we were able to get them eligible doesn’t mean we’re out of the danger zone with them. We’re spending an hour on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with the academic staff and our kids. Then we’re going to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be a good fundamental practice working on us. Thursday afternoon the scouts and redshirts are going to have a little scrimmage. It will probably be about a 30 minute deal for the other guys, not very long. We’ll have a team activity Friday morning before we let them get away on Friday and Saturday. They’ll come back Sunday to prepare for Arkansas.”

On Arkansas and the confidence they are building:

“When you have players like Tyler Wilson, Knile Davis and the skill guys like (Cobi) Hamilton they have on the offensive side in particular, those guys are going to score points and make plays for them. Coming off of two consecutive wins, I’m sure the other areas that may have been struggling earlier in the year seem to be building confidence. They’re a scary team right now. We’ll have a great task in going to Little Rock and competing with them. Our kids will get ready to play, but there is no question that their confidence has grown.”

On how much improvement can still be made:

“There have been areas from week to week that we’ve struggled at in the previous game. In most instances we’ve been able to correct those. That’s a sign of a team that is continuing to improve. There’s always room for improvement. We’ve got to improve on some special teams stuff, first down production on both sides and third downs. I know that the kids are continuing to give us great attitude and great effort. That’s what we’ve got to continue to build upon and us putting together a game plan that can be effective against other teams. We still have a long way to go. Think about the number of redshirt and true freshmen that we played on the defensive side alone last week. There’s no way that anyone could say that those kids are maxed out. They’re just beginning their journey. Certainly we think we can continue to improve.”

On special team issues:

“That’s where the immediate depth issues show up a lot of times. We’ve got to make sure the schemes we’re trying to run matches their talent. We’ve got to evaluate all of that this week. You’re either asking kids to play a lot of snaps or you’re giving them a break and playing kids when you may wish you could play other kids. I do think it’s a mixture of our mistakes and our fatigue.”

On focusing on bigger goals with the first SEC win out of the way:

“I wasn’t here the previous two years, but I found myself kind of feeling like I was part of that. That’s been the natural feeling of the fans and everyone that’s been through it. It’s just kind of been the 300-pound gorilla in the room. Now we can stop talking about that and start talking about the next game that’s on the schedule.”

On Senquez Golson:

“He was solid. He had a missed tackle. I let our coaches off yesterday to spend time with their families so I haven’t seen the grade. I had to leave this morning so I’ll see them tonight when I get back and see how Coach (Wesley) McGriff graded him out. He had a solid game. He’s getting better. The thing I’m most proud of is he’s starting to learn how to practice. That had been a struggle for a major part of the time we’ve been together. It’s just him really knowing how to practice to prove that he’s prepared to play in the game and in the scheme that we have for that week.”

On the impact of Jeff Scott in the offense:

“He’s tougher than most guys of his size. He runs harder and bigger than he really is. For us to be in the tempo offense, it’s designed around that tailback being able to make the first guy miss. You can’t play fast and end up having to account for every guy that’s going to be in the box. You have to depend on that guy to make the first guy miss a large percentage of the time. You won’t always do that, but we’ve got to win that battle 70 percent of the time. He’s doing that for us right now. He’s also catching the ball out of the backfield, which is good for us.”

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