Auburn's Running Game and Defense Impress Freeze
Ole Miss Head Coach Hugh Freeze enters the field for a game against Memphis (Photo: Ole Miss Athletics)
Ole Miss Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze held his weekly press conference on Monday, to discuss their most recent game with LSU, and their upcoming game with Auburn. Last Saturday, the #25 Rebels fell to #23 LSU in Baton Rouge, 38-21. That game was one of three ranked vs. ranked games in the SEC on Saturday, with Alabama vs. Texas A&M and Auburn vs. Arkansas being the other two. Ole Miss jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, but the LSU defense shut out the Rebels in the second half and was able to pull away. Quarterback Chad Kelly led the team in rushing and passing. The senior rushed for 56 yards while throwing for 209. Linebacker Detric Bing-Dukes led the Landshark defense with 8 tackles. When talking about the upcoming game with Auburn, Freeze first mentions defense. “Only giving up 14 points a game is unheard of almost these days,” Freeze said about Auburn’s defense. Specifically, Freeze says that the front six are the guys that stick out to him the most. Freeze called Auburn’s defense “elite” and they are a problem for whoever they play. Freeze has also noticed that Auburn’s famous running game has improved since the season started. “Now their rushing game is back to what they’ve been known for, so they are an outstanding football team that will provide us another great challenge.” He feels that Auburn’s running backs are fit for Malzahn’s system, and that they make you defend the entire field. He credited Auburn’s defense again, saying that they give the offense plenty of possessions due to not allowing the opposition to score often. Hugh Freeze and Gus Malzahn have been close friends for a few years, from their days as High School Head Coaches. Freeze was asked about his friend's transition from calling plays, to focusing on more aspects of his team. Freeze says that he can relate, and has had conversations with Malzahn about changing. “It’s so much to manage the players in this day in time and all the things that come with being the head coach in the SEC,” Freeze said of Malzahn handing play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. “That’s kind of how mine has been and I think he has kind of experienced the same, but I wasn’t surprised because I am kind of living the same dilemma.” Freeze went on to say that the offense has not changed as far as schemes are concerned and that Lashlee is doing a great job with play calling. Auburn battles Ole Miss on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:15 P.M.