Good showing by Freeze at media day. Just a few highlights here with more to come later.
– Four players remain at academic risk.
– He assured the room that his players would understand the importance of the Egg Bowl. Credited Mullen and MSU with capturing momentum in the series and reminded those in attendance that Ole Miss holds the edge in overall games played.
– He responded to Steve Spurrier’s Day 1 jab by saying he looks forward to playing South Carolina in 2013 and hopefully changing Spurrier’s opinion of Ole Miss football.
– Said his players at Ole Miss are no different than at Lambuth, Arkansas State from a desire and effort standpoint. Said they’re are bigger and faster and might “pull a few surprises.”
– Said his chemistry with Ross Bjork is unlike anything he’s experienced with a previous AD.
– Praised Dan Werner for his ability to work with quarterbacks, Dave Wommack for his wisdom and ability to work with young men.
– Said co-coordinators titles are designed to help certain staff members advance in their careers and that all coaches know who has the final say.
Some quick hits here from Charles Sawyer.
(How has it been with coach Freeze?)
When coach Freeze came we didn’t know what to expect. Then he came in and was very energetic and already knew what he wanted to do when he walked in the door. That makes you feel like we got someone to come in and smooth everything out. There’s still more, but we got that person.
(Does coach Freeze’s wilderness message cause you guys to think you can’t win this season?)
No, not at all. I honestly think he’s the one person that wants us to win games. What he means by that is we went through some hard times, but coming up to this, you have to make yourself strive out of all the negative, out of all the people don’t believe in you.
I actually feel like we have a team. I feel like everybody is coming together for one goal and one goal only, and that’s to win games.
(How divided was the team last year?)
Very divided. You had one group here, one group there, one group there. We all played on Saturday, but at the end of the day, there were still groups. Now, you see the team, and it’s not groups. It’s the team. Even when you go out to eat. You would go out with a couple of people, but now it’s like all of us going out to eat. It’s coming together.
(Win the day?)
Coach Freeze says win the day, win the day, win the day. I honestly feel like we won the summer.
(How different do you feel now than last December?)
I feel totally different. We have a good staff. It starts from the AD to the trainer to the strength coach. I feel like we have so many good people around us. It brought me from a low point back to ‘OK, we’re starting over. Let’s do it.’
(Your thoughts on the Egg Bowl?)
It’s a different game. All rivalries have more emotion to them. What he means, is you have to take it one game at a time. When it gets to that point, that’s when that point comes.
(Your thoughts on State calling you guys The School Up North)
That’s their opinion. The fact states that we are, but it’s their opinion. At the end of the day, on the scoreboard it says Ole Miss and Mississippi State. (Does it get under your skin?) No, not at all.
(Do you feel like you’re in the wilderness?)
He calls it the wilderness, because the way our seasons have been. We just have to listen to the coaches and get better. We better come out soon. It makes us think the harder we work, the better we’ll be. We’re going to work hard now in the summer, get better, learn the playbook and come out and show everybody.
(Your thoughts on the Egg Bowl?)
The Egg Bowl is a big game at the time. When State comes, they come, and we’ll give the fans a show.
(What have the quarterbacks looked like?)
Bo and Barry are working hard. They both seem like good leaders. They come out when you want do do 1-on-1s. We’re ready to see who will lead the Rebels.
(Does it bother you that State refers to you guys as The School Up North?)
We call them State. We don’t give them a different name. It’s a little bit of disrespect, but we just have to take it out on the field.
The media’s preseason All-SEC team is out.
The Rebels are indeed the first team to be picked No. 7 in the new day of the SEC Western Division. Defensive back Charles Sawyer made the third team, the only Ole Miss representation. Tyler Campbell deserved a spot here. Several had higher punting averages last year, but Campbell was the NCAA champion two years ago and showed versatility in 2011 by remaking his game and adding the rugby punt, something that helped him improve his net punting.
It wasn’t something he was particularly fond of. He felt like changing his technique was a contributing factor to a slight decline in his average per punt. He was used in the traditional drop-back punt more often with the new staff in the spring.
A total of 222 ballots were cast on the All-SEC team. A total of 177 in 2010 was previous high for votes cast.
In the East it was Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. In the West it was LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
The Rebels, as is custom, received someone’s first place vote to win the overall championship.
Most of those, however, went to LSU, a runaway favorite to repeat for the regular season title. The Tigers had 129 votes to Alabama’s 65. Georgia was third with 14 followed by South Carolina with six, Arkansas with four, Auburn with two and Florida and Ole Miss with one each.