Tulane Week: Press conference notes

Will update.

There’s a shake-up in the secondary in the wake of the 35-point loss to Texas. Longhorns’ quarterback David Ash completed 82.6 percent of his passes and has been named the national quarterback of the week by the Davey O’Brien Foundation.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he’ll start freshman Trae Elston at safety, and jobs are up for grabs at corner with new candidates in the mix there too … junior safety Charles Sawyer and true freshman Quintavis Burdette, who has been working at safety.
Cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff hasn’t had Burdette in practice but says the Senatobia native has turned heads on special teams.

Freeze says Sawyer is a more natural fit at corner and that he had been playing “tentative” at safety. Sawyer had 12 tackles against Texas, tops on both teams.

Overall defensively, Freeze said the Rebels were out of position a number of times. At other times the “fits” were better, but “physics took over,” Freeze said.

While there were some concerns last week about the Rebels perhaps playing too tight on the big stage it appears the reverse took affect. They may have been too loose.

“I want them loose, but there’s a difference in being loose and a little goofy, and I thought Friday night they were border line,” Freeze said.

Offensive lineman Emmanuel McCray: “That’s where we might have slipped up. It wasn’t being silly or anything, but when you’re on that level and that stage, you might want to be more zeroed in. It wasn’t everybody, and it wasn’t like we were acting like buffoons or anything. This is a new coaching staff, and you don’t know what demeanor they want you to carry. Simple as that.”

Freeze spent a lot of time talking about the need to fix the fits in his opening comments and expressed concern over the negative-yardage plays, nine of them in the game.

He likes the idea of a road game coming after a disappointing loss. It’s a chance to reel in the players. “You kind of get off by yourselves with your team and enjoy the process of getting ready to play another game. Going on the road sometimes increases your focus.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

Posted in Football
  • PA, what was coach freeze and emanual mccray referring to when they talked about players being loose vs goofy? is it just a feel the players have to get from the older leaders on the team in regards to how to act?

  • Parrish Alford

    Freeze used the word goofy. What came to mind for me, especially on a team with young players, was freshmen going on an overnight outing for the first time. Louder and more excited than necessary. It goes back to Freeze comments earlier about handling emotions.

  • JimAtTheRez

    PA, our secondary was lost at times, but we were not able to get any pressure on Ash. Texas was just so much better than us at the LOS (on both sides). But to defend our young secondary, they got no help with pressure on the QB.

  • Parrish Alford

    Jim, I think line of scrimmage is going to be an issue all year. At sometimes it will be better than others, but you saw the drop in pressure against Texas. Ole Miss was getting good pressure and making plays behind the line against UCA and UTEP. The Rebels had no sacks and just one TFL against Texas after having nine sacks and 20 TFLs through the first two games. That pressure makes pass defense much harder. There were times DBs were in position but did not make the play, thus the shuffle you see going on this week. I get a lot of questions about Ole Miss DBs not turning around to play the ball. They are coached to turn and look for the ball. Executing the coaching is another matter.

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