Ole Miss Press Conference – Week 9


Coach Hugh Freeze and QB Bo Wallace met with the media to discuss the Tennessee win and have a look forward to a night game in Baton Rouge this week against a ranked LSU team.

In the Tennessee game a referee cautioned Ole Miss that the Landshark hand gesture could be flagged as taunting.  Freeze responded, “It’s perfectly fine for us to do that as long as we’re not drawing undue attention to us or trying to show up anyone else. Officials obviously have the right, if they think we’re going overboard at any time, to let us know. We appreciate that because that keeps us from getting selfish penalties, which we want no part of. We’ve been very good in SEC play in the penalty category. The last thing we want is a selfish penalty because we’re overdoing something. We appreciate them telling us if they think we’re getting out of hand. Ultimately it’s their call. I appreciate the communication on it.”

The Ole Miss up-tempo offense has been noticeably slower since the Alabama game and Hugh Freeze discussed his mindset on offense, “We’re ready to go tempo. The people that want to critique things will look at it and say, ‘He’s not doing that anymore. That’s going to hurt us in the long run.’ Each game has a life of its own. Each play is a life of its own. I know that if the team is struggling to move the ball and score points, I think I should be smart in how we attack. That’s really what has happened in almost every game. If we’re struggling to stop them, that changes my thought process some and the way we’ll go about attacking. The thing that I do believe is we manage the game so that we’re around it in the fourth quarter and let’s go from there. We still throw it in tempo every now and then. There are people saying we pulled back and went so slow last week. We still had 78 plays. That’s pretty good, and we didn’t convert third downs the entire first half and still had 78. Every game has a life of its own. We still practice tempo every day. Is it the smartest thing to do all the time right now with the way our defense is playing and getting turnovers? It hasn’t been thus far. We’ve played it right thus far. The next game could change.”

Rebel cornerback Senquez Golson has exceeded all expectations this year.  Coach says, “It doesn’t surprise me. I can’t say I always expected that he would reach it, until fall camp this year when I saw he had really bought in. I expected him to have a much better year. I don’t think there’s any accident that the little things around his life, around academics and off the field that it’s a direct correlation to how he’s playing. Those things all matter in a team and in an individual. He’s always had the talent and the athletic ability. It’s really not surprising that he’s playing this well.”

Bo Wallace was asked about his improvement in reducing his turnovers the last three games and not panicking early when the offense was not clicking.  “We never panicked on the sidelines. We talked to Coach (Paul) Jackson. He talks to us Sunday before our workout and he talked about how he got kind of worried that we weren’t going to get it going. The players were looking at him like, ‘Calm down. We got it. We’re going to open this up.’ That’s just a huge thing for our offense and our maturity. We don’t’ get down or nervous or anything like that. We know that we’re going to come back and put points on the board.”

“The big thing for me is I’m not trying to mess it up. I’m going in and trying to not have any turnovers. The defense is playing well. If we punt it past the 50-yard line, they’re probably not going to get points. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable.”

Coach Freeze talked about LSU’s improvement over the season, “The last two weeks, they’ve gotten back to doing their bread and butter. That’s physical, control of the clock. They’re able to run the football with the outstanding backs that they have. Defensively, they’re changing some things around that you haven’t seen them do a lot of before. They’ve become very multiple the last two weeks, particularly last week. They’re doing more odd fronts. They’re giving you different looks in the back end, which you didn’t get all of that in the past. They still could line up and beat you. They’re making it even more difficult now by moving around and doing some of the things that they’re doing now. We have a lot to prepare for of the offensive side. Defensively, I wouldn’t think it’s going to take a whole lot of extra time planning. They are who they are. It’s very difficult to stop. There’s not a lot of mystery to it. They can do that and still be successful.”

“I’m sure they’re game planning for us, too, and what they think is advantageous for them. They’re going to turn around and hand it to their back enough times. Exactly what looks they’re in, I don’t know. They do have some tremendous weapons on the outside at receiver, also. You’re always fearful of getting caught in too many precarious one-on-one situations against great players like that. Our kids will have to win their share just like every game comes down to one-on-one battles at times. There are critical plays that can happen in a game, and that can change momentum. You have to have a plan to stop the run. They’re going to make you stop that. Then, of course, they’ll try to take their shots when they can with their quality athletes on the outside.”

Coach Freeze said his first trip to Baton Rouge two years ago was a moral victory with a 41-35 loss.  The difference in the game was an Odell Beckham Jr punt return or there could have been a big win for Freeze in his first year in Baton Rouge.  “We don’t talk about playing anybody close right now. We want to get a plan together and prepare like we’re going to win. Hopefully have a chance in the fourth quarter to do so.”

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