Wednesday, October 28, 2020

14. Freeze Enjoys Practical Joke at Players' Expense

The following anecdote was first reported by RedCupRebellion.com from a gentleman who heard coach Hugh Freeze tell this story at an engagement in Memphis.
The story highlights Freeze’s sense of humor and the need to keep a team loose heading into the opening game against Boise State in Atlanta Thursday and a tough SEC schedule with a number of Top 25-ranked teams.

Freeze On Track For Successful Career at Ole Miss Photo by UM Photographer Kevin Bain
Coach Hugh Freeze uses humor as a coaching technique. / Ole Miss Photo
by UM Photographer Kevin Bain

There is a tough line to define when preparing a team in Fall camp with no classes taking place. You don’t want to wear them out, but you want to keep them engaged. Two-a-day practices are hard on a team, and by the last day you are trying to keep them going. Freeze hatches a plan for a practical joke on his team. He tells no one about his plan, with the exception of the equipment manager. No assistants, no players, no one besides Freeze and this equipment manager know what is taking place.
Throughout two-a-day practices, Freeze sends his “guy” (someone he trusts) up into Vaught Hemingway to look over the practice field with a camera phone and binoculars. When he sees the man take his post overlooking practice, Freeze yells at security, “Get that guy out of here! He can’t be up there! Get rid of him!” Off the guards go, chasing the man away. Eventually, the players think nothing of this.
On the last day of two a day practices, Coach Freeze lets Paul Jackson in on his prank. Paul Jackson, of course, is the Strength Coach for the Ole Miss Rebels.
With Coach Jackson in on the secret, they continue out to practice. As usual, Freeze’s guy shows up to spy on practice. When Freeze sees the man, he yells out, “That’s it! Forget security! Coach Jackson, get that camera and get that guy out of here, now!” Coach Jackson takes off running toward the stadium. The players go back to work, preparing for Oklahoma drills and other full contact drills.
As Coach Jackson begins to approach the man, Freeze exclaims to the team, “Look guys! Coach is about to get him!” Everyone looks up to see Coach Jackson knock the camera phone out of the man’s hand and over the side of the stadium. The team begins to get excited and begins to cheer on their Strength Coach. The spy takes of running up the stadium with Coach Jackson in full pursuit. Players are screaming, “Get him Coach!” All eyes are on the chase that is taking place high up in the Vaught.
Photo by Kevin Bain
Photo by Kevin Bain

Now, what no one knows, except for Freeze, Jackson, and the spy, is that there is a dummy hidden atop the stadium. The dummy is dressed just like the spy. When the men reach the top, Coach Jackson hurls the dummy over the side of the stadium, seemingly sending the spy plummeting to the ground. You can hear a pin drop. The team goes from cheering to speechless. Immediately, Coach Freeze begins to shout, “Call the paramedics! Coaches, get these guys in the locker room now! No cell phones! Take their phones and don’t let them talk to anyone!”
Now, with the players and the assistant coaches in the locker room flustered and bewildered, Freeze walks in. He looks over his team and begins to speak, “Okay guys, this is it. This is one of those ‘All In’ moments. We have to protect Coach Jackson. We’re going to bury the body, and we’re going to bury the shovel.” The players faces are blank. Even a few freshman are heard whispering, “Bury the body?!”
At this moment, Coach Jackson and the spy come rolling into the locker room. Practice is over, and the prank is a success. The team heads off to the movies. This is how two a day practices for the Ole Miss Rebels comes to a close in August of 2014.
Courtesy of redcuprebellion.com