Hugh Freeze Press Conference: 11.05

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

Nov. 5, 2012

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


Opening Statement:

“We’re anxiously ready to get to this week and to have another home game. I hope our fans understand the importance of this game and will be here ready to cheer very, very loudly in the Vaught on Saturday night. I’m disappointed with the outcome of last week’s game. We really felt like that game turned on about four plays. That really took its toll on us and drained us emotionally. I expected to watch the film and be able to say some kids didn’t play very hard. Watching it, particularly from the defensive side, our kids played extremely hard throughout the game. Georgia had 76 plays, eight of the 76 accounted for 278 yards. Obviously they made the plays, but we certainly didn’t have great eyes at some positions at times. We kind of did our own thing, kind of like the Texas game. They made you pay, as good teams will. If you look at the other 68 plays, our defense played outstanding. Against a good team like Georgia, you can’t have those eight plays that we gave up. Offensively, they manhandled and beat us up front. They played a cover two base and we couldn’t block them. I tried to be hard on us as coaches and find out if the plan was sound. In previous games, some of our plays have been very good to us in those kinds of looks. They’re just a very talented team. We didn’t play with an edge offensively. We take that personally as coaches. Hopefully we can get that edge and swagger back for this week against Vandy.”

On Bryon Bennett coming out of the woodwork this week:

“Coach (Chris) Kiffin does a great job every week of making sure every kid knows that the depth chart is etched in sand. Those guys are interchangeable for us and can all be productive. He tries to honor the ones that prepare and practice the best. Bryon got his first start in a long time because of the week he had. He had a really nice game. Hopefully that will continue. This week it will be back up for grabs for those guys. We’ll see who has the best week and those are the four that will start.”

On Bo Wallace’s game and decision-making skills:

“He should have run the ball several times on scramble situations where they beat us up front. He had some where he could have gotten four or even 12 yards to help us move the chains, but he decided to make throws. Watching the film you see that he has some people that are semi-open. Their closing speed made us pay almost every time he tried to make those throws. If you just move the chains, you get another set of downs and another chance to try more stuff and get more plays in. He’ll be the first to tell you that he should have used his feet more and helping us stay on schedule. Obviously one of the four plays I’m talking about that turned the game was after we got a turnover and he decided to make a long throw on the run back across the middle, which you can’t do in this league. That was one of the four that turned the momentum against us. We had two great drives. He made some really nice throws. Again, it’s the consistency deal and him understanding the situation of the game.”

On injuries:

“We are beaten up. We have quite a few kids that will be day to day. Hopefully we can get them all back. We are banged up. We went into the game banged up at some positions. That showed some also with Senquez (Golson), Wesley (Pendleton) and Aaron (Garbutt) not making the trip. Aaron probably won’t make it this week. He is still in the hospital and will probably get released Tuesday or Wednesday. I don’t know that he would be prepared to go at that time. Wesley Pendleton is moving around, but I’m not quite sure if he’ll be ready. I do expect Senquez to go. When you’re dealing with concussion symptoms, you’re never quite sure. He seemed to be doing well yesterday and hopefully will pass that last battery of tests today and tomorrow and be ready to go.”

On breakdowns in the secondary during Saturday’s game:

“They beat us on a double move and that happens sometimes. The two plays that really cost us were the fourth and one. Hide the ball and throw it over the top. We’re in man coverage and that guy has him. His eyes were all in the backfield. The second one would be the one right before the half, where we called a timeout and get them in five under, three deep and stand on the goal line. We’re playing a bunch of young kids back there. You get caught up. Some of the other times they just beat us. In some one-on-one matchups they just beat us. We’re playing new kids at corner, Louis Covington and Dehendret Collins. That was their first time getting considerable reps there. They’ve got some good players and they beat us on a good catch and a good throw. The two that really changed the momentum were Vince (Sanders)’s fumble on the 15 yard line going in and Bo’s interception. It’s just really us not doing our jobs.” On the status of Bo Wallace’s shoulder and putting in a second string quarterback: “We’ll always have (Randall) Mackey ready. He’ll probably get more reps this week than normal. We sat Bo out on purpose yesterday, he told us to. Bo’s a tough kid. I expect him to be ready to go. He did take another hit on his shoulder. We will get Mackey some reps, along with Barry (Brunetti).”

On Vanderbilt:

“I’m very impressed with the job they do. They’re only giving up 316 yards a game. In our league, that is very good this year. They rank very high in all of the defensive stats. Coach (James) Franklin and his staff have done a marvelous job. His kids play extremely hard. They know exactly who they are and who they want to be. They’re going to try to formation you and make you a line that will give them an advantage with unbalanced sets and different things. Both their quarterback and (Zac) Stacy are both excellent runners with the football. All of those will present a great challenge. Of course (Jordan) Rodgers can throw it. They have a great receiver also, (Jordan) Matthews. They’ve done a great job. They’ve been in every game, with South Carolina, Florida and the top of our conference. He has his kids believing. They’re one win away from being bowl eligible, also. I know that his kids will understand the magnitude of every game that is left on the schedule. Hopefully ours will do the same.”

On Bo Wallace making the right reads:

“People are scheming us pretty good and giving him some confusing things at times. We’ve got to help him with that and start taking some of the reads out of his hands on that within our blocking schemes. We really didn’t have a lot of those on Saturday that he pulled, with the exception of one. Some were the right reads, we just didn’t get the job done at the point of attack with our down guys.”

On how important bowl eligibility is for recruiting:

“It’s important and certainly would help in recruiting. I really want it more for these seniors, our kids and our fans. I don’t know that it would be the end of all in recruiting. Our coaches have done a good job in building relationships, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I really would like to get that sixth win. Number one, because it is six and four more than last year and it helps us build. Number two, to be playing in a 13th game somewhere to send these senior out would be nice. Also for our fans who haven’t experienced that. That would be a neat thing to end our first year here.”

On motivation in knowing the team is only one win away from going to a bowl:

“We were marvelous yesterday, but we’re hurting, beat up and disappointed. If you go back and watch the first 28 minutes of that game, you’re thinking this team here is for real. We’ve stopped their run, gotten to the passer and moved the ball in the first 28 minutes pretty effectively. It’s just disappointing that we didn’t finish it. Yesterday they came back. Our character theme for the week was overcoming adversity for this week. It is a great week for that. The coaches and the kids came back with a renewed spirit knowing that this is the fourth quarter of our season, it’s about finishing. We’ve got three very tough opponents left and we better bring our A game because I know they will.”

On opponents beginning to scheme the option:

“Arkansas did it the week before and we had what we think is a great plan for it. The first two times we ran our stuff and had a little different scheme of blocking for them. You would think they’re going to be eight or 10 yard gainers. Their two inside guys were big and physical. We didn’t get the job done there, and they were the ones that ended up making the plays on them.”

On how not being able to run the ball effectively impacts the rest of the offense:

“It impacts everything. If people can stay in those two high schemes and use their walkout backer to carry you, there are just not a lot of places to throw the ball. You have to be able to run the ball and get an eighth guy to commit to the run fits and we weren’t able to do that. That’s really the first time all year that we’ve felt like that.”

On Jeff Scott and the possibility of seeing more freshmen moving forward:

“Jeff didn’t have a lot of places to go the other day. When he did, they showed how good they can be with their team speed. Their backers closed on him in a hurry, as their safeties did. What were sometimes six or seven yard gainers were two and three yard gainers. It wasn’t anything to do with Jeff. We could probably keep him fresher by using I’Tavius (Mathers) and Jaylen (Walton) a little more, maybe even Randall in a few things. We are looking at that some this week.”

On adjustments to the pass defense:

“We don’t have anybody else to put in right now. We’re using them all. We’ll just continue with the ones that are healthy and continue to get them better. We’ve just about exhausted all of the options that we have. It was good for a good part of the game. We didn’t have anybody to rest a lot of guys. Hopefully we can get a few of those guys back in the back end and give us some added depth there.”

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