On Monday afternoon, Hugh Freeze stepped to the podium for the first of many game week(!!!!) press conferences this season. This post, which represents a new weekly feature here at the Cup, is also a first of many. Every Monday afternoon, we'll be sorting through Hugh's presser to bring you only the notable information and explain why it matters. No more scrolling through long transcripts or sitting through a 20 minute video replay filled with 95 percent coach speak. We've already done that for you.
Here's what we learned on Monday:
Fadol Brown's Week 1 fate could be decided on Tuesday.
Brown, who recently traveled to a doctor in Texas for a last-ditch treatment on the pesky stress fracture in his foot, is back in Oxford and, as Freeze put it, "very optimistic."
"(He) says it’s feeling better, but today is a day off, so we won’t know until tomorrow's practice really what that means. Sometimes it is easy that it feels better when you are walking around, but we will see how it goes tomorrow in practice."
As the starting strong-side defensive end, Brown will play a critical role in holding the edge against Florida State's explosive running back, Dalvin Cook, who's a nightmare in the open field (a problem compounded by the Rebels' youth at safety). Freeze praised John Youngblood (who was listed as the starter in Monday's depth chart release) and freshman Victor Evans, but he's also implied previously that he doesn't think the position is deep enough.
Freeze feels "comfortable" with Rod Taylor at left tackle.
Monday's depth chart release, as expected, also listed Taylor as the starting blindside protector.
"[Taylor] is an athletic guy, wish he was a little longer, but he and Greg [Little] will split reps there. He also can play inside. Jeremy [Liggins] will be back with us soon, but we have been comfortable with Rod doing it all fall camp and I think he has done a nice job."
That concern over length stems from the fact that Taylor is playing outside of his natural position fit—the 6'3, 329-pound junior is a converted guard who's been forced to tackle a relative lack of options. Little, the five-star supercroot, will take over eventually, but seems to still be swimming a bit. Liggins is finally back at practice, but his suspension will keep him off the playing field until Week 2.
Read more about the O-line in this in-depth preview.
A lot of freshman will see the field.
When asked which freshmen will play next Monday, Freeze listed Little, wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown, running back Eric Swinney (a redshirt), D-linemen Benito Jones and Montrell Custis, and defensive backs Myles Hartsfield, Jaylon Jones and Jalen Julius.
Hartsfield, who's penciled in on top of the depth chart at strong safety, is the only starter among that group. The most notable name not on that list is the guy expected to back up Hartsfield: four-star safety Deontay Anderson. Whether that's because Anderson is still healing up from a wrist fracture suffered two weeks ago or simply because Freeze forgot to name him isn't clear—none of the reporters asked that question. When the initial news broke, Freeze said he thought Anderson would be able to play with a cast and avoid missed time.
Hugh and Jimbo Fisher aren't bros.
"I don’t have a relationship with him. I mean I know who he is, obviously. He is cordial and I am cordial when we see each other, but we really have no relationship."
Ok, that one doesn't really fall into the notable information category, but I thought it was awkwardly humorous.