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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Freeze addresses media; Golson wants to play baseball, again

VIDEO BLOG: Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze addressed the media today as the Rebels opened fall camp.

Checkout the video of Freeze’s opening statement below:

It’s hard to say expectations are at an all-time high — Twitter wasn’t even around during the 50′s and 60′s, nor during The Eli Era, so there’s really no way of knowing for sure… — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t astronomical two years removed from having a coach ousted mid-season.

However, on the heels of a surprise bowl victory and a record signing class for the school, Freeze has done a lot of expectation management in the last month or so. Expectations are good — within reason.

“In year two of this journey we certainly think we’re headed in the right direction and probably ahead of schedule a little bit,” Freeze said. “As you know, and it’s been well documented, I do believe you have to temper your expectations as far as is it a reasonable expectation in year two given that we’re still a very young football team and still have some depth issues at different places.”

The only expectation Freeze said he has is becoming more relevant in the SEC West (The Rebels went 3-3 against Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State in ’12).

“Part of that is I really don’t know how these kids are going to perform, particularly the young ones. Do I think we have the ability to scare a lot of people? I do and I expect us to. Does that mean we can win all of those games? I don’t know,” Freeze said. “I’m very careful not to say I do because I do believe unrealistic expectations, when you speak them and they don’t come true, frustration kind of sets in. We need to continue with passion and enthusiasm. We will get there.”

Speaking of social media, Freeze said that while we live in a 24/7 society, rebuilds in the SEC don’t exactly happen as instantaneously.
YOUR MOVE: A staple of every preseason camp is the lineup shuffle. Each year, whether it be because of injury, academic casualties or other reasons, teams are constantly considering players at positions other than the one they were recruited to play. This year is no different for the Rebels. Depth at tight end is rather thin with A.J. Jackson failing to qualify and Christian Morgan looking like a redshirt candidate due to injury. The Rebels have already converted running backs Nick Parker and Charles Scott to the position and may not be done there.

“We have a lot of things floating around out there,” Freeze said. “Going into week two we’ll do some evaluating and see where we are.”

On defense, the Rebels have moved Q. Mireles to cornerback as well as Quintavious Burdette. Derrick Jones has moved to safety and Freeze said he has even toyed with the idea of moving speedster Kailo Moore to cornerback from the offensive side of the ball.

“The offensive guys say ‘heck no, don’t do that.’ The defensive guys say, ‘you know, he’d be a great field corner,’” Freeze said, “It’s good that you have those type of kids.

 Regarding the tight ends, Ole Miss’ depth chart has seniors Jack Nuismer and Justin Bigham penciled in, but don’t be surprised to see Evan Engram gradually climb the depth chart. According to co-offensive coordinator Dan Werner, the freshman has the potential to be an all-around tight end this season.

“He looked really good,” Werner said. “We felt that way anyway before he got here, but today he didn’t disprove that. … He can run. When we signed him he was 200 pounds, now he’s about 220 and he can catch. He’s really smooth. He’s like a wide receiver but bigger and he’s physical enough I think to get in there and do the blocking he has to do.”

INJURY UPDATE: Freeze said defensive end C.J. Johnson was limited to individual work this morning. Offensive lineman Patrick Junen and cornerback Charles Sawyer only did conditioning, and defensive tackle Issac Gross was held out all together. Offensive lineman Aaron Morris was full go and took every rep with the first team. Freeze added that Sawyer and Gross are the farthest away from being game ready but he feels good about Johnson.

BACK TO BASEBALL?: So, as it turns out, Senquez Golson is considering baseball. Again. Asked about being a football-only player in the spring, Golson said he felt like he has grown immensely, not only as a football player but as an individual. The former Boston Red Sox draft pick was then asked if he missed playing baseball.

“I will play baseball again,” Golson said. “Senquez will play baseball again, hopefully here or somewhere else, but I will play baseball again.”

The announcement is a bit premature as he said he has not yet talked to the baseball coaching staff. Would they like the speedster back? Probably. But with a roster — and specifically, outfield — full of speed from kids who are full-time baseball players, finding playing time won’t exactly be guaranteed.

“I plan on getting over there sooner or later,” he said. “Sometime this semester but I’m just kind of focused on football right now.

Golson was used situationally as a freshman in 2012, hitting .204 in 22 games.

On the gridiron, Golson is listed as the starting field corner. In two seasons, Golson has accumulated 52 total tackles and four interceptions.

For more from today’s media day, be sure to check out Monday’s print edition of the Oxford EAGLE. (August 2, 2013)

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