Happy Thursday, everybody and welcome to the Ole Miss Wake-Up Call, providing your daily dose of all things Ole Miss sports.
Hugh Freeze’s teams have a history of bouncing back from tough losses more often than not, and that’s exactly what needs to happen this week as the Ole Miss Rebels travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). Ole Miss must do so while recovering from a season-altering 34-30 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
This isn’t the first time the Rebels have had to recover from a gut punch of a loss during Freeze’s four seasons as head coach. Let’s take a look at how the Rebels have fared after particularly disappointing losses under Freeze:
Ole Miss lost a hard-fought game to Vanderbilt, 27-26. A win would have made the Rebels bowl eligible, and the team was absolutely devastated afterward. But the Rebels recovered and gave a much more talented LSU team a 41-35 scare in Death Valley the next weekend. Ole Miss had the Tigers beaten, but Odell Beckham happened.
And even after a second consecutive heartbreak, Freeze had the Rebels ready to beat Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl the next week.
Ole Miss let Johnny Manziel and a win slip through its fingers and lost a game it had won until the final minutes, 41-38.
That loss hurt bad, but the next week the Rebels beat LSU 27-24.
The Rebels struggled to bounce back from soul-crushing losses to LSU and Auburn. The loss to Auburn was particularly brutal in that Laquon Treadwell broke his leg, which understandably hurt so badly that he fumbled away what would have been the winning touchdown as he was crossing the goal line. Losing doesn’t get more heart-wrenching than that. The Rebels didn’t bounce back from that so well, losing to Arkansas 30-0 before finally righting the ship in the Egg Bowl.
Ole Miss lost to Arkansas on the infamous fourth-and-25 lateral, destroying any chance the Rebels had to win the SEC West. It was a rough, rough loss, but Ole Miss bounced back to beat LSU in its next game.
In conclusion, Freeze is a good motivator of men, and he generally has his team ready to play, even after disappointments.
Freeze’s pep talk
There’s no time to mourn a loss in the SEC. To do so could lead to getting beaten again the next week. The latest episode of The Season played part of Freeze’s post-game locker room speech to the players.
“It’s a long season, men,” Freeze said with a raised voice from atop a chair in the middle of the visitor’s locker room. “It stinks, it sucks and it hurts, but you know what? It’s a long season, and it’s about the journey and how you handle that. That’s what makes you. We get another great opportunity in a great place to play next week on the road in this conference. Let’s get our butts ready and play a complete game. No heads down. We come back and we fight! Let’s get in there, get to work and get ready to go play LSU on the road down there. That’s the option. There is no other option.”
Haynes: Do your job
It’s no secret that the Ole Miss defense is struggling. The Rebels rank 104th in the FBS in total defense, allowing 446 yards per game and 5.58 yards per play. That’s not good.
Defensive end Marquis Haynes thinks the problem is that players are not covering their assignments.
“If you take your eyes off where they are supposed to be, it always happens, you get hit for a big play, and explosive plays are what kills defenses,” Haynes told the Ole Miss Spirit. “We go to the sidelines and our coaches are giving us adjustments as we go, but if we don’t do what they are telling us to do, we lose the chess match.
“Everyone has good coaches. They adjust, we adjust, they adjust back, we adjust, and so on, all throughout the game, but if the pieces, the players, don’t move correctly, it’s checkmate. You never really know what the next move is going to be so you have to do what your coaches tell you to do and believe they have the fix.”
Preseason SEC basketball predictions
Ole Miss basketball is set to start its first full season in the beautiful Pavilion on Nov. 11 against UT Martin, and the Rebels were at SEC Media Day in Nashville on Wednesday to help hype the fast-approaching season.
“Ole Miss basketball culture has been changed,” said coach Andy Kennedy while appearing on the SEC Network from the league’s media days in Nashville. “Now we need to change the narrative. Now we need to take the next step.”
Coming off a 20-12 (10-8 SEC, sixth place) season, the Rebels were picked voted ninth in the conference by the media, but don’t let that dissuade you from paying attention this season. The media is wrong a lot.
Since it's SEC Media Day, here's where Ole Miss has finished each season in the AK era relative to SEC media's projections. pic.twitter.com/HuukCehoC9
— Kory Keys (@KoryKeys) October 19, 2016
Getting ready to make Swayze crazy
The Ole Miss baseball team is working hard to get ready for the season. Let’s drop in for a look on what these Rebels are doing to get ready to make another run at Omaha.
More iconic than the Kardashians
Have you seen the meme challenging people to name a more iconic family than the Kardashians?
The Manning family has an entire section of the Ole Miss campus named after it, the adoration of the University of Tennessee, a legendary NFL quarterback for its patriarch, four Super Bowl rings, a few Super Bowl MVPs and an epic ESPN documentary (The Book of Manning). And I seriously doubt the Kardashians are making anywhere close to the bank from commercial endorsements as the Mannings.
So, yeah, it’s not even close.
The sun sets in the Oxford sky
The Ole Miss practice field was looking right nice underneath the setting sun on Wednesday.
— Ole Miss FB Video (@OleMissFBVideo) October 19, 2016