After five weeks of the season, No. 11 Ole Miss faces its first true test when the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide rolls into Oxford along with ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time since the show was created in 1987.
Coach Hugh Freeze said he is excited to see Ole Miss represented on a national level with the inclusion of College GameDay as well as the Top 15 matchup between the teams.
“That’s going to provide a very festive atmosphere here in Oxford, and we’re excited to showcase our atmosphere in the Grove. Our team will hopefully play well against a superb Alabama team,” Freeze said. “We’re coming into the game with the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked defenses in the conference and No. 2 and No. 4 ranked total offenses in our conference, so something has to give at some point. At the end of the day, it’s about players playing their individual matchups and that’s something we’ll challenge our kids all week long to prepare themselves to do. It should be a great, great atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Though the big game atmosphere is more normal for Alabama and new for the Rebels, Freeze expects his team to focus on the game while enjoying the big spotlight after helping dig the team out of a hole after coach Houston Nutt left in 2011.
“I think it’s human nature for all of us to get a bit head in the clouds with all of what’s going on right now. We all want that, but I sit back with my staff this morning and reminded coaches exactly what the process has been like with our journey to get us to this point,” Freeze said. “It certainly happened faster than I thought possible when we first got here, so I’m thankful and I thank God every day for this job and the opportunity we have to impact the lives of the kids in our program and also the opportunity to compete. I’m going to enjoy this week.
“Last week, I have to be candid, it wasn’t enjoyable for me. This week I’m going to enjoy it and have fun and get our kids ready. I know they’ll play extremely hard. Whatever happens with this game Saturday you can’t make too much of it — too much of a win or too much of a loss. There’s a lot of season left and a lot to play for. I do think we have been on a short journey and come a long way in a short time.”
Senior quarterback Bo Wallace said he is fighting the distractions of the College GameDay and the hype around the weekend’s biggest college football game in the country.
“My mindset is on this game. When you’re sitting in class, you’re trying to pay attention, but you know where your mind is,” Wallace said. “Every ball player in this building, this is where their mind is at. It’s on Saturday. It’s the process through the week of having good practices and preparing yourself. I’m just excited, and I know our team is.”
For more on the press conference, check out this video.
Adam Brown is HottyToddy.com sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Amelia Camurati is managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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