By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
There wasn’t a lot of new information to report on Ole Miss heading into its opener against Boise State Thursday night in Atlanta.
Hugh Freeze was about the targeting rule, his backup quarterbacks and the attitude and patience a coach has to have when playing a lot of true freshmen during Wednesday’s SEC Coaches teleconference.
On the targeting rule, Freeze said he thought it accomplished what the intent was.
“I think all of us spent more time lowering our targets and even just verbalizing it in most every practice,” Freeze said. “We spent time talking about the concentration it takes, the awareness that you need to understand about lowering your target. We had very few in our games (in 2013). We had one with us and two that were done to us. In two of the three, the (player) was actually re-instated into the game.”
Last year a player that was called for a targeting foul was ejected from the game, and a 15-yard penalty was assessed by the officials in charge of the game. The second part of that rule was changed during the offseason.
“I certainly agree they have done the right thing to where if it is not truly targeting, they are picking up the 15 yards. That didn’t make sense to anyone to penalize the team,” Freeze said. “I think the rule accomplished what we were gunning for which was protection for the student-athletes. I also think they added another element that makes it even better.”
Tennessee coach Butch Jones is planning to play up to 30 newcomers in 2014 and Freeze was asked how to deal with playing so many freshmen during the contest.
“It’s probably tougher for the kids because you worry about their mindset if things don’t go well for them in certain games early on,” Freeze said. “For me, I kind of remind myself daily, and my staff daily, that you can’t get caught up in the results. You have to remind yourself of the process, and the journey that you’re on. You can’t judge it solely on the results.”
Freeze added that frustration could come if improvement from the younger players isn’t seen as the season moves on.
“I think the kids that they have recruited and that we have recruited, you’re going to see that improvement because they are talented,” Freeze said. “I know just keeping your mindset solely on the journey and getting to where the results will take care of themselves if you do the little things, it ultimately will happen.”
Devante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan both redshirted last season, making them available to play this fall behind starter Bo Wallace at quarterback. Freeze said again that he was hoping to play the duo at some point during the season, in special situations.
“Devante is an athletic kid and it wouldn’t shock me to see him taking some snaps and doing things we think he is gifted to do,” Freeze said. “If we had to stand in the pocket and make throws, Ryan is more gifted at doing that. I’m really impressed with their improvement. Obviously, we hope Bo has an outstanding, healthy year, and we don’t have to play them a tremendous amount of time. I think if something happen, I think both will go in and function well.”