By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
There was no spinning what the 35-31 loss has meant to the Ole Miss Rebels so far this week.
Ole Miss, ranked No. 11 in the latest College Football Playoff Top 25 poll, lost receiver Laquon Treadwell for the season as he was trying to score what would have been the go-ahead touchdown in last Saturday’s game.
Freeze specifically called the loss to the Tigers “gut wrenching,” adding he didn’t think he had ever ended the game in quite that fashion.
“It’s been a difficult weekend for our kids to respond, but I think they will,” Freeze said. “We’ve got to get back up and get ready to play Saturday. You put so much into this from the kids’ perspective and the coaches’ perspective to have a chance in a game that has such magnitude, it’s a great teaching moment. Hopefully we’re going about it the right way, teaching them the things we need to about life.”
Freeze said it was difficult to talk with Treadwell, and for him to carry the weight of what he felt was letting the team down by not scoring, Saturday night and again in the hospital.
“Our conversation first started when I went out to the field and I was out there pretty fast because it looked so bad,” Freeze said as he went through the injury. “That was one of his first comments to me was ‘Did I get it in the end zone? Did we win?’ Of course at that time I was just telling him I’m not sure yet, we still have a minute or so left to play in the game. That’s kind of how it ended then. When I got to the hospital early Sunday morning, he obviously knew the outcome and said ‘Coach, I just can’t believe I didn’t get it in.'”
Freeze went on to say that his love for Treadwell was greater than it could ever be.
“We would not even be in the discussion of the magnitude of these games without your play and without your leadership,” Freeze said he told Treadwell in the hospital. “I told him to forget thinking about that. He is moving on. (Wednesday) is his first day back around the team. He’s ready to help coach these receivers up.”
Every day since the loss on Saturday has taken away the sting of the setback. Freeze said that time has a way of making the loss better, but added that the effect has been more lingering that other losses.
A video of Auburn’s Gus Malzhan has recently surfaced of him dancing and singing to “Can’t Touch This” in 1996 when he was a head coach in high school. Freeze was asked what he thought of Malzhan, who performed at Six Flags over Texas during a family trip.
“One of my GA’s actually showed that to me and my first thought was there is no way that this real,” said Freeze, who is a close friend of Malzhan. “And then they told me that it was earlier on his days. As I watched, I said that I thought I could take him in a dancing contest.”