ESPN college football analyst Trevor Matich joined Jared & the GM on ESPN 102.5 The Game Tuesday to discuss college football hot topics, specifically the state of the Ole Miss football program, just a week removed from the departure of head coach Hugh Freeze from the program.
Freeze resigned due to discovery that he had made calls to an escort service in Miami, Fla., now leaving interim head coach Matt Luke to guide the Rebels this season. Matich said that it will be tough for Luke due to players losing the bond they had with their former coach.
“From the standpoint of the expectation of leadership,” said Matich, who joins the show every Tuesday afternoon at 4:30. “Hugh Freeze failed the school, the administration, he failed his assistant coaches, he failed his players. The players see their coach as their mentor. The guy they need to model themselves after more than any other from the standpoint on how to be a man… That is a shock to a system for a football player, because now you have to establish that rock somewhere else. ”
A major part of Matich’s conversation involved the lasting effects of Freeze’s actions, which will likely have the biggest impact in recruiting. This kind of scandal not only scares off recruits, but the nature of his scandal plus the lifestyle Freeze preached at Ole Miss before his resignation could also cause more disconnect.
“Another takeaway is recruiting,” Matich said. “It will suffer because of this. A lot of people, a lot of parents consider Ole Miss for their child and, really, a lot of recruits chose Ole Miss because of the faith-based family atmosphere that was embodied by Freeze. Now, on the recruiting trail, negative recruiters will use this. They won’t say outright that this was a double standard, but there will be whispers.”
This is not to mention that the program has had a lot of the momentum garnered over Freeze’s tenure has been damaged. Matich said that rival recruiters will have, and make use, of all the firepower this has given them.
“Now, let’s go into the winning,” Matich said. “That’s one thing that Ole Miss had been able to sell. ‘Come to Ole Miss, you can win the Sugar Bowl, you can beat Alabama. You can compete for championships here.’ Now the negative recruiting will say, ‘On top of all that Hugh Freeze stuff, that it may well be that all that stuff was a fraud as well.'”
Finally, Matich made sure to mention that potential NCAA action could further worsen the school’s issues, depending on if the NCAA impose sanctions that would allow players to leave without any concern.
“[Ole Miss] have already self-imposed a bowl ban this year,” Matich said. “If the NCAA comes down with another year or two of bowl bans, anybody on that football team can transfer to any other school they want without having to sit out a year. If that exodus occurs… not only will it be a talent drain, it will be a drain of confidence in the institution of Ole Miss football.”
For the full interview, listen here: