Georgia offensive lineman Austin Long has seen up close what Freeze can do.
He was a water boy at Briarcrest Christian when his father Tim Long was offensive line coach on Freeze’s staff.
“I can see some of the trick plays that he’s been doing,” said Austin Long, who was in eighth grade in Freeze’s final season at Briarcrest. “It reminds me of the stuff he used to do in high school. He would always pull a double pass out of his hat.”
Ole Miss (5-3) is one win away from being bowl eligible for the first time since 2009 after going 2-10 last season and 4-8 the year before under Houston Nutt, who was fired.
That has Freeze being mentioned as an SEC coach of the year candidate. Ole Miss snapped a 16-game SEC losing streak against Auburn and followed that up with a road win at Arkansas last Saturday.
“He’s a great coach,” Austin Long said. “He deserves it. He was a very good coach in high school. He’s proven himself.”
Ole Miss runs a spread offense that can go high-tempo.
“When you’re playing teams like Georgia, who has those receivers and running backs, every time they touch it you hold your breath thinking they could score,” Freeze said Monday. “I have a defensive staff that will hope you can slow this one down a little bit. It’s a balancing act.”
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones is one of only two defensive players that were named Monday as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award for the nation’s top collegiate player.
Jones and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o are among 16 on the Maxwell list and both are also among 16 semfinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award for the nation’s top defensive player.
The junior from Columbus was also named Monday as the SEC defensive player of the week for the second time this season following his disruptive game against Florida.
Jones had a career-high 13 tackles (12 solo), three sacks and forced and recovered two fumbles.
“That guy’s a tremendous player, man,” safety Bacarri Rambo said. “He’s the best player in the SEC, defensive player. …What can this guy not do? He gets sacks, interceptions, forced fumbles. What can he not do?”
Jones has 8.5 sacks in six games and now ranks second in the nation in sacks per game with 1.42, which trials only Western Kentucky’s Quanterus Smith at 1.64. Jones leads the nation in tackles for loss per game at 2.33 (14 for the season) and forced fumbles at .83 (five for the season).
Georgia’s Nov. 10 football game at Auburn is set for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff on ESPN2, the Southeastern Conference announced today.
The Bulldogs will have a chance to clinch the SEC East with a victory over the Tigers if Georgia beats Ole Miss Saturday.
This will be the first nighttime kickoff at Auburn for Georgia under Mark Richt. The 1998 and 1996 games were played at night.
Auburn is winless in the SEC with an 0-6 record and is 1-7 overall. The Tigers were crushed at home by Texas A&M 63-21 on Saturday.