Ole Miss

Orgeron, Freeze face off for 1st time as head coaches Saturday

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and starting quarterback Chad Kelly (10) watch the final seconds wind down at the end of their game against Memphis on Oct. 1 in Oxford.
Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze and starting quarterback Chad Kelly (10) watch the final seconds wind down at the end of their game against Memphis on Oct. 1 in Oxford. Associated Press

The corner was big, but progress was being made.

A little more patience might have changed things dramatically for both Ed Orgeron and Hugh Freeze, says Freeze, now the Ole Miss coach.

Orgeron and Freeze meet as rivals Saturday at 8 p.m. when No. 23 Ole Miss and No. 25 LSU face off in Baton Rouge.

Orgeron, the former Ole Miss coach who gave Freeze his break at the college level, was named LSU interim coach less than a month ago.

“People are not patient,” Freeze said. “I really think we had recruited really well here under Ed, and it was close to turning a corner.”

Orgeron arrived at Ole Miss after serving as a defensive assistant at Southern Cal and was 10-25 overall, 3-21 in the SEC from 2005-2007.

He hired Freeze as an administrative assistant and promoted Freeze to an on-field assistant in 2006.

Orgeron was asked about facing the school that fired him after LSU defeated Southern Miss 45-10 Saturday night, and Orgeron ran his record as interim coach to 2-0.

“Whatever happened there happened for a reason. I don’t have any memories of that place that I want to remember. I’m glad to be an LSU Tiger,” he responded.

If the Orgeron Era is a fresh memory with adult fans its fuzzy for the players who will determine the outcome, such as sophomore offensive tackle Sean Rawlings, of Madison, who was an elementary school student then.

“He’s trying to make it a talking point, but I think we’re just ready to play. We’re always ready for LSU no matter who’s coaching.”

LSU (4-2, 2-1 SEC) defeated Missouri 42-7 in Orgeron’s first game after taking over for Les Miles. The Tigers’ game against Florida was postponed.

“If you look at the athletes Ed and his staff – our staff – brought in ... we thought we were really close,” Freeze said.

Tweaking the staff: Freeze says he’ll put another set of eyes on the linebackers this week as graduate assistant Christian Robinson, who played linebacker at Georgia, will coach the middle linebackers. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack, who has handled the linebackers alone to this point, will work with the outside linebackers.

Injuries: Freeze said his players experienced a lot of soreness after a 34-30 loss at Arkansas but nothing that he expects to keep anyone out action in Baton Rouge. An MRI for nose tackle D.J. Jones showed just a bruise of his elbow, and Jones is expected to practice this week.

Freeze and LSU: Freeze is 2-2 against LSU with both wins coming in Oxford. His two losses in Baton Rouge have been by a combined nine points.

Game plan

Who: Ole Miss vs. LSU

When: 8 p.m., Saturday

Where: Baton Rouge, La.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 103.1 FM

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