Eyebrows were raised and tweets rolled when Hugh Freeze compared his Ole Miss players to his Arkansas State players at Media Days Thursday.
Here’s the quote: “I do think we were more talented at some spots or maybe deeper is the appropriate term I should use.”
A couple of things here.
One, comparisons from Freeze to Arkansas State are going to happen. It’s where he’s been. It’s his body of work.
He compared his Ole Miss players to not only his Arkansas State players but his Lambuth players as well in terms of their competitive nature and desire to succeed.
Two, It’s not stunning that there could be athletes at a Sun Belt Conference school, that a coach believes are more talented than some athletes on an SEC roster, particularly when that SEC roster has lost 14 straight in the league.
There’s a window of time thing going on too. The comparison is the very best Arkansas State team, a Sun Belt champion, against an Ole Miss team that is going through one of the darkest periods in program history.
It’s not unusual for small college programs who compete at the championship level within their leagues to have NFL talent at some positions on the field.
I think what caught people’s attention was Freeze’s opinion that Arkansas State was deeper, and I suspect that Sun Belt depth and SEC depth are different things. Arkansas State was deep for its league. Ole Miss is not deep for its league.
The first order of business for Freeze is to create depth by taking his inherited players and his new ones and developing a roster that can give the Rebels a chance to compete in the SEC. It won’t be quick and easy business.