Freeze talks SEC scheduling, other topics on conference call

In the aftermath of the SEC’s Sunday announcement that it would remain at eight conference football games and would keep permanent cross-division opponents – meaning Vanderbilt for Ole Miss – LSU AD Joe Alleva had this to say.

 “If you’re Ole Miss, and you’re playing Vanderbilt (every year), are you going to vote against permanent partners?”

Speaking on the SEC teleconference, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze didn’t speak directly to Alleva’s comments, saying he had not seen them.

He did have this to say about why he wanted an eight-game schedule and what his thinking was before the presidents and chancellors voted.

“I was very clear with our chancellor and AD that I thought the fairest way to do it was the 6-0-2 and to rotate the other two (Eastern Division) opponents. The priority is we want to stay at eight games. Whatever momentum is in the room to stay at eight, I will be OK with that. I wanted to stay at eight for sure. That was our priority. I can’t speak a lot on what other people said. That’s the conversation I had with my administration.

“I was in favor of eight just because I think we beat each other up enough, and we’ve been very successful with eight in putting our teams in the national championship hunt. I don’t know why we would want to change until it’s proven that doesn’t work any more.

On other topics …

Freeze said his perfect schedule at Ole Miss – now that at least one non-conference game against a power league opponent will be mandated by the SEC – will include two mid-majors.

“We’re going to play the one from another BCS conference, a I-AA you would always like to have one of those, and then two mid-major types. With the league schedule that we play and the other that you will play from a power conference, I think that’s the best make-up for us at Ole Miss. We’ve gone through a year of injuries, and we see how that affects us, the wear and tear you take in the league games that we play. It takes a toll on you.”

He also said Bo Wallace deserves to be in the conversation for preseason all-conference awards but that there’s ample proof to show that inexperienced quarterbacks can step on the scene and make immediate impacts.

“That would be the general consensus if you ask anybody. All of us would prefer to have a returning quarterback who has experience. There have been several examples of quarterbacks who did not have that experience and immediately came in and had a big impact on college football.

You look at what (Johnny) Manziel did when he arrived on the scene, Auburn’s guy (Nick Marshall) last year was a huge difference-maker in their team.

“You feel more comfortable with a returner, but that doesn’t always become the best scenario for everybody.”

As far as any preseason accolades that might come Wallace’s way …

“I certainly hope so. He’s thrown for a lot of yards and a lto of touchdowns. We have to continue to work on taking care of the ball. In neither one of his seasons has he had a complete year, and we’re hopeful for that in his senior campaign. I do think he’s deserving of those discussions.”

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.

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