The 2017 SEC Media Days came to a close on Thursday as head coach Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss Rebels rounded out the 14 schools that faced the gathered media in Hoover, Alabama.
For the Rebels, there is no shortage of storylines coming off of a 5-7 season, and of course, the conversation continues surrounding the looming decision of the NCAA. Freeze began by addressing the media about the allegations towards the university and the steps that they have taken to resolve the matter.
“We have taken responsibility for the mistakes we have made,” Freeze said. “Our administration has taken what we believe to be appropriate action, including double-digit scholarship reductions, meaningful recruiting reductions, one-year bowl ban, and a large financial penalty just to mention a few.
The Rebels will have to face adversity this season as everything continues with the NCAA. Freeze and AD Ross Bjork will soon meet with the NCAA’s Committee On Infractions, but will then be forced to once again play the waiting game as they await the final decision.
Looking back, Freeze mentioned that Ole Miss let a few games get away and that the Rebels were unable to recover after the rocky start.
“Last year, we — obviously dropping the FSU game after having a three-touchdown lead, in the Alabama game after having a three-touchdown lead, it rattled our confidence,” Freeze said.
After the 2016 season, Freeze’s staff experienced its first big shake-up since he arrived in Oxford before the 2012 season. This off-season, Freeze brought in some new faces on both sides of the ball in coaches including DC Wesley McGriff, LB coach Bradley Dale Peveto, OC Phil Longo, DL coach Freddie Roach and WR coach Jacob Peeler.
Coach Freeze then talked about having Shea Patterson at quarterback. After showing flashes of natural ability in the final three games of the 2016 season, Freeze has high praise for his young quarterback and expects him to grow in his first full year as the leader of the Rebel offense.
“I think the great thing is I think his ceiling can be really high. I don’t know that I can help him at all or that our coaching staff can help him with his release. It’s pretty good. One of the better I’ve seen coming out of high school. His feet can — you know, maybe Longo can help him some with that. His running around, I wish we could take credit for training him to do that, but that just comes natural to him,” Freeze said.
The Rebels open up the 2017 season on September 2nd against South Alabama inside the Vaught.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.