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August 27, 2012
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze meets with the media Monday, previewing Saturday's game against Central Arkansas.
OXFORD, Miss. -- Hugh Freeze admitted Monday he doesn't know exactly what to expect from his team when it opens the season _ and his era as Ole Miss' head coach _ Saturday night.
"I'm real encouraged by the progress we've made in attitude and effort and in personal responsibility and accountability," Freeze said. "We're making progress there. We're still not totally there in that regard either.
"Some days I obviously feel like we might be better than I thought. Some days I may feel like we're going to be worse than I thought. Reality is until you play in a game with a team, your guess is probably better than mine because you've seen these young men go through it. That's as straight as I can put it. I really don't know. I'm excited to find out, and I like the vibes I'm getting from our kids this week and those things. But until we got out there and actually line up against someone else and make the adjustments we have to make and see how our kids perform when things do not go well, I'm real curious to see how we do."
After three-plus weeks of fall camp, Freeze admitted with a smile Monday he's "so sick of practice. I'm so sick of the interviews that you have that people want to know the same thing."
Freeze laughed and promised local beat writers who have covered virtually every practice that he's "not sick of you guys, of course. You really just want to get to the game and let's talk about how this person did instead of what we expect. It's all speculation right now. I think it's time for us, as it is for every other school, it's time for us to get on the field and let's see who's going to perform well."
KEEPING EMOTIONS IN CHECK: Freeze is a Mississippi native. He was born in Oxford. His father, Danny Freeze, has two degrees from Ole Miss. The family routinely went to Ole Miss games during Freeze's childhood. So Saturday will be extra special.
"I try not to think too much about that, but I do know coming here as a child, going to the Grove and watching the teams come through and understanding that my experience in doing that let me know about the passion of the Ole Miss people and family always meant something because that's where our families always got together," Freeze said. " I know it'll be special. I know it's special to my family and certainly to me and my kids and my wife and my mom and dad and everyone that's close to me.
"That'll go away real fast and it'll turn to the kids. I'll hopefully turn it off of me and it'll be about, 'Can I get those kids to play?' Ultimately that's what's going to make everybody happy."
EYE ON ISAAC: Freeze tweeted something on Sunday morning about storms in life, completely oblivious to the presence of Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf of Mexico. The response to the tweet called Freeze out for being insensitive. Baffled, he turned to his wife, Jill, who informed him of Isaac's path. The tweet came down.
Now Freeze is having to keep an eye on the Category 2 hurricane, one that is expected to make landfall along the Louisiana and/or Mississippi coast late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The National Weather Service is forecasting a 70 percent chance of rain Friday and a 40 percent chance Saturday.
"We'll do some wet ball drills for sure," Freeze said.
BACK ON THE FIELD: Charles Sawyer (quadriceps) and Wesley Pendleton (knee) will be back on the practice field Tuesday in hopes of being able to play in the Rebels' defensive secondary on Saturday. Cornerback Cliff Coleman (knee) is further behind his teammates, but his return this week has not been ruled out.
Freeze said he'll know their status as early as Wednesday. Running back Jeff Scott, who's been bothered by numerous setbacks in camp, could have his playing time "very limited" if he can't return to practice full-speed by Wednesday, Freeze said.
REBEL RUMBLINGS: Freeze said Monday he's not yet made a final decision on tight end Jamal Mosley's status for Monday, indicating that he wants to see if the suspended tight end continues to do everything the right way. "He's done everything we've asked to this point, but I'm not going to jump the gun on it," Freeze said. Freeze said defensive end C.J. Johnson is the Rebels' "best player."
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