HOOVER, Ala. – Off-the-field headlines from recent weeks all but guaranteed that Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze would be one of the coaches fielding the most questions at SEC Media Days this week.
Freeze was grilled on issues ranging from the allegations against star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to the issues surrounding the Confederate Flag – which the state of Mississippi has featured in its own state flag.
“As far as the Laremy situation right now, there’s very little to report,” Freeze said. “We obviously will cooperate fully with, whether it’s the NCAA process or the law enforcement process, we will cooperate fully with that. I’m very confident, like I said, in the way we do things and what we can control. I’m very confident in the person that Laremy Tunsil is too, and we look forward to that coming to a conclusion at whatever time is appropriate.”
And while Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen decided, largely, to deflect questions about the flag, Freeze, a Mississipian, decided to make more of a direct statement.
“While I’m not a political figure, that symbol has been hijacked somewhat by group that have meant ill will toward other people,” Freeze said. “I think it’s time that we move in a different direction with the state flag.”
Freeze also offered little clarity on his QB battle, saying that there “hasn’t been a fair sampling” for Chad Kelly, Ryan Buchanan or DeVante Kincade yet. “All signs point to him being fully receovered,” Freeze said of star receiver Laquon Treadwell, who was injured late in 2014.
Miles talks QBs, defense: LSU coach Les Miles was his usual quirky self on the podium in Hoover, spending over 20 minutes talking about his family, vacations and whatever else seemed to pop into his mind.
Many of the questions for the 10-year veteran at LSU centered on his defense, which will be without the familiar guidance of coordinator John Chavis, who moved on to Texas A&M over this offseason.
“We would expect that that talent would continue and that we would have great defense, period,” Miles said.
Miles, who said he is confident that quarterback Anthony Jennings will return to the team after his offseason arrest, is optimistic about his quarterback position as well after Brandon Harris and Jennings got experience in 2014, but were inconsistent as well.
“Our quarterback play will be better, legitimately better,” Miles said. “There’s been some things that we’ve done to kind of script and hone to make their skill and abilities more evident. So I think we’ll get really improved quarterback play.”
Richt also looking for QB answers: Quarterback battles were a consistent theme among the three teams (LSU, Ole Miss, UGA) that went on Thursday. That’s especially true at Georgia, where the Bulldogs have one of the most open competitions in the entire league.
Head coach Mark Richt didn’t add much clarity to the race between Brice Ramsey, Faton Bauta and Virginia graduate transfer Greyson Lambert.
“I have no idea who the starter is going to be,” Richt said. “We are going to have a tremendous competition for that position. It’s going to – I think it’s going to take a while. We have 29 practice opportunities before the first game and we’re going to get a rotation where we can see the guys that we want to see compete and then make a decision on who should be the starter, but right now, I don’t know who that guy is.”