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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Freeze gives preview of spring football

BLOG — Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze was nice enough to meet with the Ole Miss beat writers for about 10 minutes prior to today’s semifinal game between the Rebels and Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament.Freeze came to the New Orleans Arena to root on the Rebels. He has been following the tournament and tweeting about the positive results since it started on Thursday. Being a former high school basketball coach, he also loves the game.

Ole Miss’ spring practice sessions begin March 23. The team is currently off for spring break and when they return, they finish up conditioning heading into the 15 practice sessions allotted for Freeze and his staff. Ole Miss’ annual Red-Blue spring game is April 21.

“I’m very ready (to start). We still have some things do before the 23rd. We’ve got spring break this week and our last two days of fourth-quarter drills leading into that Friday, Saturday, Sunday kickoff of spring ball. We’re real excited to get out. I’ve been asked 100 times what I think about these positions. I honestly don’t know yet but I’m excited to find out,” Freeze said.

Freeze said he has watched three game films from last year, Alabama, LSU and Georiga. He said he will watch more when he gets extra time.

“I kind of didn’t want to cloud my judgment too much. Our defensive staff looked at every one. Our defensive staff is encouraged, we just got to get them playing with great effort for 60 minutes and see what the scoreboard says after that,” Freeze said. “There is obviously some kids that can play there. Not enough, but kids that can play and we got to get the best out of the ones that can.”

Freeze gave an update on the health of linebacker D.T. Shackleford, who had to undergo another surgery to repair damage on his torn ACL recently. Shackleford missed all of last season after suffering the original injury in last year’s spring drills.

“He just had his surgery so it’s in the early stages of his recovery. He is questionable for the fall. I talked with our team (doctors) the other day and they are hesitant to say (if he can play in the fall). There is a chance but it’s certainly not something we feel is definite at this point,” Freeze said.

Another topic Freeze touched on was the academic status of several players. Four, Freeze said, had mountains to climb in regard to being eligible to play while 16 others had hills to climb.

“The ones that had hills, I’m pretty pleased and the ones that had mountains to climb, we’re still battling. I’ve been pleased with the things we can control, attendance and tutoring attendance and all of that. I’ve been very pleased with. I don’t have a lot of control over their success or not.”

Freeze said that some could be held out of spring drills as punishment for not meeting academic requirements. He said that decision would come, one way or the other, after spring break.

For more from Freeze and his thoughts ranging from recruiting for 2013 or spring football or former players coming back to campus, see Monday’s Sports section. (March 10, 2012)

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