The Ole Miss Rebels returned to Oxford Mississippi with a 6th win under their belt and a dominating performance over #14 ranked Texas A&M at Kyle Field Saturday night.
Coach Hugh Freeze met with the media for his weekly review of the big win and a look forward to Tennessee on Homecoming weekend.
Freeze discussed the big 35-20 win in College Station, TX. “It was a great atmosphere to play in at Kyle Field. I’m really, really pleased with the way our kids prepared and the way they handled the environment, and obviously, the start we got. We were very, very solid defensively for the better part of three-and-a-half quarters. We asked them to take too many snaps there in the second half. We didn’t play quite with the same passion at the end of the game. To go in there and set the tone early, play a sound game and win the turnover battle and protect the football was vital for us.”
Freeze discussed his defense’s improvements: “The first thing that popped in my mind was (cornerbacks coach) Jason Jones deserves a lot of credit. Obviously Dave (Wommack)’s schematics has a lot to do with it. They do a great job. With our corners, I don’t know that I remember a deep ball this year that we weren’t in position. That certainly doesn’t mean we’ve made every play. I think we were in position. Even the one where they hit on the little skinny post the other night, our freshman (Kendarius) Webster was right in position, he just has to make a play on it. That hasn’t always been the case. Obviously recruiting helps that. The second thing that popped in my mind was we haven’t given up explosive plays. I’ve always been a believer from being an offensive coach, if you make an offense have to drive a consistent drive, over and over again for 60-70 yards, we make mistakes on offense. You’re going to block a look wrong or something. It’s very difficult if you don’t get explosive plays. When you get explosive plays, those drives get easier. If you really have to grind out first down after first down and then convert in the red zone, it’s difficult. Our team has given up very few explosive plays and then we’ve been stingy when it does get in the red zone and made people settle for field goals. There are a lot of reasons; the scheme, the coaches, but most of all, the players.”
Discussing the freshman class: “We have to get Rod (Taylor) more snaps for sure. He’s a little different and more athletic than some of the guys we’ve had in the past. He’s going to be a really special player. We have to get him more snaps. C.J. Hampton continues to come on. Cody (Prewitt) is playing so well (at free safety, where Hampton is the backup). We’re happy with his progression, also. The Moore (A.J. and C.J.) twins continue to show up, as well as (DeMarquis) Gates in special teams. They’re also improving in their positions. Hopefully we’ll continue to stay healthy, but all those kids are improving.”
Injury Report: Deterrian Shckelford was held out due to knee issues but he is expected to return this week against Tennessee and there were no reported injuries this week.
Looking forward to Tennessee: “To play back at home against Tennessee is exciting for us. We love playing in front of our home crowd. That team is eerily similar to our journey. They are a very, very talented team. They are hungry. It’s one of those scary games that you know they have good enough athletes to beat you. The job that Coach (Butch) Jones and his staff have done is really admirable. They are quite talented. Again, they’re hungry. They’ve played some really quality teams very, very close. I know it’s going to be a tough challenge on Saturday. I’m glad we’re at home and get to play in front of our fans.”
Tennessee’s defense: “They’re very athletic. They do a solid job. They’re in the right places. I always watch a big play reel on (the next opponent). They don’t give up explosive plays. They’re really talented at corner and Mike linebacker. Their defensive line is extremely active and athletic.”
Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace on playing his home state’s team: “It’s no secret that I grew up loving the Vols. I had on my orange every Saturday. It’s going to be fun getting to play them. Where we’re at right now, it’s just the next team that we play. We have to go out and perform to end the season the way that we want to.”
“It’s just like I’m going to go into every game from here on out. I’m going to have the mindset of not making a mistake and really letting the defense do what they do. Offensively, I’m not going to force anything. Eventually, we have enough talent that we’re going to put up some yards or pop a touchdown. I just have to take care of the ball.”
Ole Miss hosts the Tennessee Volunteers Saturday night at 6:00 PM CT in Oxford, MS. The game will be a part of the SEC Nation morning broadcast and will be televised on ESPN.