The Ole Miss Rebels football team hit the reset button this spring with the hiring of former Arkansas State head coach Hugh Freeze as their new head coach. Freeze did an impressive job with the Red Wolves and hopes to bring that same winning attitude to the Rebels this fall.
With the opening of the college football season every team in the SEC feel they will be competitive and can contend for the divisional championship. The 2009 season was the last winning season for Ole Miss, but this year could the beginning of the Rebels being more competitive with the top tier schools.
1) Easy schedule. The Rebels should be 3-1 before they enter conference play with homes games against Central Arkansas, UTEP, Texas and a road game at Tulane. In three other games the Rebels will have a good chance of winning Auburn, Vandy and Miss State.
2) Hugh Freeze will not be intimidated by other coaches in the SEC. Coach Freeze will not allow his this to have a defeatist attitude and defends them at every corner. During the SEC media days this year South Carolina’s head coach Steve Spurrier called the Rebels doormats. Freeze responded sharply to that statement and said, “We will circle that game in 2014.”
3) The Rebels defense. The Rebels strength this season will be on the defensive side of the line. The Rebels return a strong core of defensive backs and linebackers. Linebacker Mike Marry and defensive back Charles Sawyer will lead the unit. Both players earned All-SEC and other preseason recognition. Marry led the team in tackles last season with 81. Sawyer was fourth in the SEC with four interceptions and was the team’s second leading tackler with 70.
4) Team will be more accountable. Freeze will hold his team more accountable and they won’t make the mental mistakes the team made last season. Last season the Rebels made too many mental mistakes that cost them a few wins and they lost their confidence as the season progressed.
5) More talent on offense. Last season Randall Mackey started 6 games at quarterback. Mackey has moved back to his natural position of running back. The quarterback position has been upgraded with Barry Brunetti and Bo Wallace competing for the starting job. Sr. running back Jeff Scott ability will assist the Rebels offense and defense by his production. Scott was a first team All-SEC selection. Wide receiver Donte Moncreif will be a big target for the quarterbacks to seek out in the passing game.
Terry Davis covers Ole Miss football for MemphiSport. Follow him @Terryd515 for live tweets from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.