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Coach Freeze addresses variety of issues on SEC Football Coaches Spring Media Teleconference

Coach Freeze addresses variety of issues on SEC Football Coaches Spring Media Teleconference

The Southeastern Conference Western Division football coaches participated in the league’s spring media teleconference Thursday morning, and Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze was asked about the health and depth of his team, the status of Ole Miss’ participation in satellite camps, and about the comments made by Laremy Tunsil on draft night.

Tunsil situation

Freeze met the Tunsil situation head-on, addressing it before he was even queried about Laremy’s draft-night comments.

“Obviously since draft night, we’ve had some adversity here around our place,” he began. “I wanted to address that I know our administration has been aggressively working to reach a resolution on the matters involving Laremy.”

While Freeze realizes the public is eager for a quick response, he stressed that it is more important to get all the facts.

I’m told that we’ve made a lot of progress, but the facts are always more important than speed or our public response, which is difficult for me sometimes because I want to respond, but our administration will continue to work with all the parties to get the answers and reach a conclusion as soon as possible, which we are hopeful that is coming quickly.

Coach Freeze 

Freeze was asked by Daniel Paulling of the Clarion Ledger if Tunsil’s statements Thursday night were “new news” to Ole Miss, and the head coach responded by explaining that while it certainly was a shock to him, he is not the one in charge of investigating the situation.

I would just have to refer back to my opening statement. I know nothing. I’m not involved in the fact-finding process. I was shocked like everyone else, living it out in real time, but I’m confident that our administration is going to find the facts and then give us a good report on it.

Coach Freeze

David Brandt with the Associated Press continued the line of questioning, asking Freeze about the university’s perceived silence on the issue. Freeze, again, explained that it is imperative for Ole Miss to do its due diligence before responding.

“I’m not in the process of the fact-finding,” he reiterated. “And I’ll be very quick to come out and defend us when it’s something that we know the facts on. This, I don’t at this present time. I know that our administration is working and I’m told they’ve made a lot of progress. But they’re collecting everything before we come out and make a response.”

Coach Freeze made it clear that though he would like to reply to much of what is being said, he knows that is not the most prudent action at this time.

I’m trying to be patient. That’s difficult on me sometimes because you want to respond. There’s great wisdom in being patient and making sure you get the facts and we’re still in that process.

Coach Freeze

David Brandt also asked Coach Freeze if he knew whether or not a new Notice of Allegations would be issued by the NCAA following Tunsil’s comments. Coach Freeze replied, “I think it depends on what the facts reveal. We haven’t even discussed the next step. You gather the facts first and then you’ll know a lot more after that, of what they are.”

Spring practice notes

Freeze was pleased with the Rebels’ spring practices and the work done by some of his younger players. “I thought our 15 days were good. We had some mid-year guys enroll from high school. It was very good for them to get that extra spring under their belt,” he noted.

Freeze mentioned the loss of such players as Tunsil, Nkemdiche, Treadwell, C.J. Johnson, Trae Elston, Mike Hilton, Aaron Morris, Justin Bell, etc., and said: “Any time you lose great players, that is a loss. We’re not the first to experience that. It happens to all of us.”

He went on to say, however, that the depth of the team is improved from the past.

Our depth is definitely better than what it was a few years ago. We’re still a little shy in a few spots, but we’re definitely better off.

Status of Tony Conner

Freeze was asked about the health of Tony Conner, who missed much of last season.

I’m real excited about the reports that I’m getting from our medical staff on him and our training staff. He started running two weeks ago. There’s been no signs of irritation or swelling after those workouts, so just really excited….A healthy Tony Conner will make a huge, huge difference in our defense.

Satellite camps

Freeze was also asked about satellite camps and where Ole Miss will be for those camps. “We continue to believe that football recruiting is actively best focused in the high schools, so we’re currently going through that in our recruiting calendar,” he said.

“I love for kids to come to our campus,” Freeze continued. “At the same time, we’re going to go see them in some aspect. By the end of the week, I’ll have a good feel for exactly what we’re going to do. It won’t be too many or too many places,” he said. “Probably Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, for sure, and maybe one on the coast somewhere, but I haven’t finalized all that yet.”

(Feature image credit: Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze celebrates after the Rebels defeated Alabama. Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship--and continued as she watched Katie receive three degrees from Ole Miss, culminating with her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn, a member of the FWAA, USBWA and the NCBWA, has covered Rebel sports for numerous outlets. In addition to working for The Rebel Walk, Evelyn is a sports writer for a newspaper in Texas.

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