(SEC) The Rebels play on an artificial field (AstroPlay) at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (seats 60,580)
- Hugh Freeze is in his 1st year as head coach at Ole Miss. And it looks like he is certain to improve upon what happened last year. Ole Miss didn’t win a single SEC game. In fact, they only won two games all season and only one against an FBS school (Fresno St.). The last time Ole Miss finished a season with 1 or less wins against a Division IA (FBS) opponent was in 1942 when their only two wins came against then non-IA schools Western Kentucky and Memphis. What may be equally disturbing to fans is that this team has now lost to Vanderbilt two years in a row.
- What happened to Ole Miss last year? They couldn’t pass, they couldn’t score, they could barely run and they certainly could not stop the rushing game, or the other team from scoring. And their turnover margin was abysmal. This was surprising on offense considering the team returned 9 starters.
- The biggest question heading into 2011 was who would be quarterback it doesn’t appear that they ever answered that question. Randall Mackey was supposedly the most accurate passer of the group but completed less than 50% of his passes. Perhaps he was distracted somewhat by his multiple suspensions last year and this year he is moving to WR.
- This year quarterbacks Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace battle for the starting job. Barry Brunetti, who transferred from West Viriginia last year and was eligible to play immediately, struggled in his just 35 passing attempts. JUCO transfer Bo Wallace had been on the roster at Arkansas State where he redshirted as a freshman in 2010, when Freeze was the Offensive Coordinator
- This team has a fair amount of talent returning with their top running back (Jeff Scott), top three receivers and six of their top seven tacklers on defense. There are only two offensive linemen and two defensive linemen that are return starters. But the biggest question is how this team adjusts to a completely new system.
- What you need to know about Hugh Freeze is that his offense is up-tempo so it will look a little different from what fans are used to seeing. One key to success for him will be that his players have the proper strength and conditioning to play this type of game. According to Freeze, “All the reports from Paul Jackson, I know his strength and conditioning program are centered around preparing them for the tempo we want to play. I think the reports have been very, very well. We still have certain positions that will take longer to get accustomed to playing in that manner, but I do think we’re on track.”
- And the lack of depth could certainly be an issue. With up-tempo offenses they move faster and get off the field quicker (either by scoring or by using up their downs). This gives the defense much less time to rest. With a lack of personnel to rotate in and keep the players from tiring too quickly, this can be a problem.
- Interesting quote from Freeze on Media Day in response to the recent questions Ole Miss has had regarding eligibility: “Ole Miss was second in graduation rate at 68% in the SEC. So it’s not a total disaster. We just had a poor semester for whatever reason. I really think it comes back to personal accountability that was lost for whatever reason within the program.” Personally, and this is just my two cents, I think we need to start looking at 68% as a total disaster.