The staff realizes it’s playing catchup with regard to filling out a signing class of 25 (the Rebels currently have 10 players verbally committed), but Freeze remains hopeful the Rebs can makeup ground rapidly.
“Trying to make up some ground in recruiting is a priority. We are behind. We acknowledge that. We’re realistic but we’re also glass-half-full guys,” he said. “We’ll still do OK in this recruiting class. Looking forward to getting back out in January and really seeing if we did make up some ground. The staff is working extremely hard. We’re evaluating juniors for next year’s class so that we properly recruit them for a full year.”
Other topics Freeze touched on included the potential of adding a training table, the timetable his staff will be completed within and academic issues.
Freeze said he’s definitely in favor of a training table, which provides a nutritional meal options to players.
“I’m all on board on that and our administration is also. We’re certainly addressing that,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll be a problem that is solved sometime in the fall. That is in the plans and we’re moving forward with that. I can’t tell you the exact timetable, but I know everybody is on board with that.”
As for his staff, Freeze expects to have it rounded out “before the next contact period” starting January 4. He added that he interviewed two strength coaches today and a defensive backs coach recently as well.
“Maybe one slot may still be open and waiting for certain people that I really want and am willing to wait for to see if it’s possible,” he said. “Everything should be in place by the next contact period.”
Asked about the rumors regarding the academic standing of several players, Freeze said this:
“I have and it’s scary. We have some hurdles there, some issues there. I hate to go into individual players, but we have a considerable problem there. It’s not one that we’ll back away from. We’ll meet it head on and start fighting that battle in winter session… Starting in January we have to go back to work on a lot of things and that’s certainly high up on the list.”
He also added that while no players have voiced an interest to transfer (to him), offensive linemen Bobby Massie and A.J. Hawkins are “testing the water in the NFL Draft.”
Checkout Tuesday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE for more from Freeze’s press conference. (December 19, 2011)