Special teams play gets Freeze's attention

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

More Rebels: Notebook

OXFORD – It’s often said that everything’s bigger in Texas, but is everything faster too?
That’s the case for the Texas special teams, says Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, as the Rebels prepare to host the No. 14 Longhorns on Saturday night.
Texas leads the nation in net punting with a 49.75-yard average and is tied for ninth in kick returns with 22.0 yards per attempt.
Those are numbers that just scream “speed” to Freeze.
“No. 1, any time you play a team that has the team speed they have, they’re special teams are going to be good,” said Freeze at his regular Monday press conference. “The better the team speed, the better the special teams, and they’ve got great team speed.”
Special teams rushed into Freeze’s consciousness last week when the Rebels fumbled two punts, and kicker Bryson Rose missed two more field goals in a 28-10 win over Texas-El Paso.
Things have been good on the whole, he said, but he knows the negative plays can be game-changers.
“I think our special teams have been solid except for the field goal unit and the muffed punts. Our coverage units have been good, our punter’s been good,” Freeze said. “We’ve struggled to make the field goals when we need them. I do have great confidence that Bryson will get that worked out. He’s a confident young man.”
Rose, a senior from Raleigh, N.C., has missed as many field goals in two games he has his entire career. He began the season 25 for 29 in two seasons as the regular kicker, a success rate of 86.2 percent.
He’s 0 for 4 this season, two misses from long range, one a block, and two from under 40 yards.
Ole Miss senior punter Jim Broadway is third in the SEC at 47.3 yards per attempt. The Rebels are fifth in net punting at 41.0 yards per attempt.
parrish.alford@journalinc.com