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Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze admits ‘drama’ with his program is self-created

Hugh Freeze 2017 SEC Media Days
Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports

HOOVER, Ala. – Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze admitted Thursday at SEC Media Days that what he called “the drama” surrounding his program is something that the program itself created.

“We obviously have created it in and around our program,” he said. ” … We’ve got to be responsible for the areas in which we were deficient in, that we didn’t – that we didn’t either react or act properly, or whether it was staff or whether it was boosters. So we have to own that.

Each coach is allotted 30 minutes in the main media room at the event to deliver an opening statement, then take questions. Freeze’s introductory remarks lasted a bit more than 16 minutes. Most coaches took 22-plus minutes of questions; Freeze took a bit more than 13 minutes.

Freeze said early in his remarks that he wouldn’t answer any questions about the investigation and that Ole Miss was looking forward to its meeting with the Committee on Infractions “so we can put this behind us.”

RELATED: What Hugh Freeze said during his SEC Media Days news conference

Freeze also said he wouldn’t answer any questions about a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Ole Miss by former Rebels coach Houston Nutt, who said the school was engaged in a smear campaign against him in trying to deflect NCAA attention.

“I would absolutely love to share my opinion on it,” he said. “Unfortunately, it’s a legal case, and I can’t comment.”

As is his wont, Freeze talked about what he called his program’s “core values” – faith, attitude, mental toughness, integrity and love.

“I really had to re-think my deal on integrity because of what I’ve learned through the situations we’ve gone through,” he said. “Integrity is not always doing the right thing, but it is when something is done that is not right, you acknowledge it, you own it, and you move on from it … which is what I think our administration has done throughout the difficulty of this NCAA investigation that we’ve caused.”

RELATED: A trip to Oxford reveals a talented Ole Miss team but unease about how season will unfold

Freeze said he is “extremely confident” in the administration’s faith in him. “They’ve been unwavering in their support of me,” he said.

That faith showed after last season, when Freeze received a contract extension; there now are four years left on his deal.

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