Despite the insistence of angry Twitter folks that Chad Kelly’s decision to run onto a high school football field during a brawl that enveloped his little brother constituted a punishable offense, Hugh Freeze has already move past it.
“He was very apologetic that it brought a bad light on him and our program,” Freeze said during this Monday press conference. “But I think the events that happened could have happened to a lot of us. He knows he cannot continue to do that and his brand change, but that’s it. It’s over.”
Kelly was caught by news cameras being pulled off the field after the sidelines cleared during a high school game in Buffalo, N.Y. While it wasn’t the best look for a guy who has a rep for having a quick temper, it was a relatively understandable action considering the fight erupted after his little brother, who plays quarterback, was hit out of bounds and buried underneath the ensuing tussle.
"First I mean, that’s a bad decision on my part that I made,” Kelly, who spoke after Freeze on Monday, told reporters. “If I could do it differently I definitely would. I actually would not go and run out on the field of course. I regret doing it. At the same time I’m sure any of us, if we had seen a family member out there in need of help would have came to the rescue too."
Fadol Brown’s status is still up in the air.
Freeze told reporters last week that his strong-side defensive end, who hasn’t played in the last three games, was expected to return to practice after the bye week. Freeze said Brown planned to “try to see what he can do” on Monday and would likely end up being a game-time decision against Arkansas on Saturday.
A recent procedure seems to have renewed optimism that Brown could be back sooner than later. Having the massive run-stopper back against Arkansas’ downhill running attack, if even for a handful of snaps, would be big.
DeMarquis Gates might return from suspension this weekend.
Ole Miss’ only reliable linebacker was held out of the Memphis game for an undisclosed violation of team rules. It sounds like there’s at least a chance that he’ll be back on the field in Fayetteville.
“Gates, it’s totally up to him,” Freeze said. “He knows exactly what he has to do to be ready to play.”
Gates’ athleticism and coverage skills will be critical to stopping an Arkansas attack that carved up the Rebels last season with play-action passes to tight ends.
“In years past, it’s been the ability of their tight ends and quarterbacks to be really balanced. We’d commit people that we felt like we had to commit to stop the run then those guys winning in space on you in one-on-ones.
The linebacker situation outside of Gates remains a mess. Freeze, who said last week that he’d be experimenting with a new rotation during the bye week, explained Monday that the coaches are still “trying to find the best combination” by working six players at the two linebackers spots, an experimental process he expects to continue “throughout the season.”