It's hard to talk about Ole Miss football right now without touching on the NCAA investigation. The latest development coming via former head coach Houston Nutt and a lawsuit he filed against the university that includes Hugh Freeze as part of a group that started a smear campaign against him. Freeze was asked about it at SEC Media Days. He was unable to comment specifically due to the on-going legal matters.
"There's still going to be stuff that comes out. We've got a legal case going on right now with a former coach. I don't know anything about that really, but it'll still be noise."
As the Rebels look to tune out that noise from the NCAA investigation, all eyes on the field turn towards sophomore quarterback and former 5-star recruit, Shea Patterson.
Javon Patterson is the only Rebel lineman that started every game in 2016. He's noticed a difference in #20: "When you think of Shea Patterson man you think of explosive, athletic and hard worker. The things that he's brought to this program is tremendous and the things that he's gonna bring is tremendous. You could see his leadership role is very expanding. Things like that really show a lot to us and this offense is gonna get rolling."
For the first time under Freeze there will be new coordinators on both sides of the ball, including OC Phil Longo. Longo brings a version of the air-raid offense that Patterson feels will compliment his skill set nicely.
"I think it's gonna be a great transition. Coach Longo is one of the hardest workers I've ever been around. You know he likes to go fast and that's what I like to do," Shea said.
Freeze added "I'm looking for a guy that can run the offense I run and be better than me. He convinced me that he's better than me in several areas that we were deficient in."
After working together throughout spring practice, it's clear the Patterson-Longo duo has plenty to work with. Fellow sophomores AJ Brown and DK Metcalf lead a group of dynamic pass catchers.
Shea feels "there's just so much weapons. Usually you come in out of high school and you're used to throwing to one or two guys. Then you get out here, and obviously it's the same way in the SEC at a lot of different schools, but you get out there and you can literally throw to anybody you want because they're all so talented."
In the 3 games he started last season, Patterson showed he has what it takes to compete in the SEC, but now he'll have the opportunity to prove it for a full season.
Ole Miss opens the season September 2nd against South Alabama.
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