HOOVER, Ala. — With NCAA allegations and a freshly filed lawsuit by former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt on the table, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze is a main attraction at Day 4 of the 2017 SEC Media Days on Thursday.
Freeze took the stage as the 13th head coach to face reporters in the Wynfrey Hotel.
Here’s a look at everything Freeze said:
On SEC Now set:
- Freeze regarding lawsuit: “Disappointed in the timing of it, not something I was fond of. Don’t know much about it right now”
- “I think it’s the 5th year in a row I’ve been here and haven’t been able to talk about our players”
- On recruiting impact: “I like where we are in recruiting. They’ll know what they need to know before they enroll”
- “Our players don’t have a clue about this lawsuit. I don’t really know all about it.”
During discussion with local media:
- On lawsuit: “It seems a bit ironic that the timing was what it was, but it is what it is.” (per Ole Miss Spirit’s Ben Garrett)
- On NCAA allegations: “We have taken responsibility for the things all along that we’ve done,” Freeze said via Garrett. “Our administration, they’ve instituted what they thought to be the things we needed to do to rectify what we’ve done. We’re talking double-digit scholarships, a bowl ban, millions of dollars lost, severe recruiting restrictions. Now we’re at the stage where we feel like we’ve taken responsibility.”
- Freeze talked about his relationship with former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, per Garrett: “I don’t think I’ve spoken to him since I begged him to keep me [on Nutt’s Ole Miss staff]. I did see him at a Chik-fil-A golf tournament. I think a lot of Houston.”
On main stage in ballroom:
- Hugh Freeze opened with statement on NCAA allegations:”Our administration has taken what action we believe to be appropriate.”
- Freeze said he will not answer any questions on the NCAA allegations.
- Freeze told players “We can’t control the things that are happening out there… It has zero effect on them being able to become the best man they can be.”
- “Embrace the blessing that you have.” Freeze mentions that no player has left the program in spite of NCAA issues.
- “It seems like every year I’m here there are other things I have to talk about other than our kids.”
- Freeze mentioned bringing in a team of Navy SEALS to help the team with working through adversity.
- “Integrity is not always doing the right thing, but it is acknowledging when something is not right. You own it.”
- Freeze said he “can’t be sitting in the offensive staff room all the time” with everything else going on with his program, which made new OC Phil Longo a natural fit as new play caller.
- “I would absolutely love to comment on it.” — Freeze after being asked about the Houston Nutt lawsuit.
- “They’ve been unwavering in support of me.” Freeze on Ole Miss administration.
- “The family part of it is the hardest part.” Freeze said social media world has impacted the way his kids perceive what is going on.
- “We might go for it on fourth down a lot more. I don’t need a lot of nudging to do that.” — On how the bowl ban may change the way he coaches this season.
- “I’ve had to come to grips with that. Not everybody is going to come around to that.” — On defining his legacy, which he says won’t be clear until 20 years from now.
- “It has to happen. And the great thing is I think his ceiling can be pretty high.” On Shea Patterson needing to become the face of the team to keep the locker room together.
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