SEC Media Days 2016: Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze set to take the stage on final day
SEC Media Days, the college football highlight of the long, hot summer months, has finally arrived. In fact, it started on Monday afternoon with remarks from Greg Sankey, who is entering his second year as the commissioner of the league. Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss will speak into the microphones today, and there are sure to be plenty of intriguing questions to answer.
Along with Freeze, the “Mad Hatter” from LSU, Les Miles, and new head man at South Carolina, Will Muschamp, will step to the podium. While Muschamp is replacing Steve Spurrier in Columbia, he won’t be his substitution as it pertains to entertainment value at media days. Miles, like the head ball coach, is an entertainer when the mic is hot, but rather for his perplexing statements than his poignancy. Freeze is the happy medium between the two personalities and is scheduled to speak between them, as well.
While many of the questions asked of Freeze will likely center around the NCAA investigation, there are certainly plenty of other story lines to address. And Freeze will not be the only representative of the Ole Miss football program on hand Thursday. In fact, the biggest celebrity not named Nick Saban attending Media Days could be Chad Kelly, the senior quarterback of the Rebels. It’ll be the second time around at SEC Media Days for senior tight end Evan Engram, and rounding out the group will be senior defensive tackle, D.J. Jones.
The non-NCAA story lines start right there with those three players. Kelly is arguably the best returning quarterback in the conference. He brings a savviness to the Rebel offense that could give Ole Miss an edge against the best defenses in the league this year. Additionally, Kelly is likely to be a Heisman contender. Engram is familiar with Media Days, after going last summer, as well. He is an experienced and polished speaker when dealing with the media–and he has a smile worth a million bucks. Jones will be the guy looked to lead the Landshark defensive line, a unit that will be void of Robert Nkemdiche this season.
While Kelly and Engram could make waves with their outfits, don’t expect them to give away anything for the media to take and run with. Engram and Kelly, also Jones, are sure to be honest, but not too revealing. They aren’t likely to make any missteps when they speak and they will be well-prepared for the line of questioning they will face. In fact, with Kelly and Engram among the best in the nation at their positions, they create more important headlines on their own than the NCAA case.
We expect Freeze to speak glowingly about his quarterback, with good reason. Perhaps he will paint a picture of what the new-look running game will look like without Jaylen Walton around or discuss how the group of young safeties can mesh and how they will respond early in the season, or maybe he will give insight into what the battle between his two trench units will look like in August.
There are many things to discuss when it comes to how the team will look this season. Expect Freeze to address those topics with more words than he gives on the NCAA “stuff.”
If you want to look deeper into the questions that are most pressing for Freeze and Ole Miss going into the 2016 season, check out a story from Courtney Smith earlier this week.
The Rebel Walk will be at the Hyatt Wynfrey for all the action on the final day of SEC Media Days 2016, so stay tuned for a complete wrap-up.