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VIDEO: Rebel Road Trip 2015

Hugh Freeze and Ross Bjork embarked on the Rebel Road Trip, the baseball team claimed their weekend series over Alabama that featured the largest crowd of the season and the football program's NFL presence is expected to grow with the NFL Draft next weekend. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:

- Headlined by Ole Miss football head coach Hugh Freeze and athletics director Ross Bjork headlined the fourth annual BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip that featured 13 fan meetings over six days. Both Freeze and Bjork noted the same energy but a different belief and optimism than their first Rebel Road Trip together in 2012.

- Here's what Freeze had to say about his fourth Rebel Road Trip, speaking to reporters after the event: "I enjoy the meetings and seeing the Rebel people," Freeze said. "We ask them to come to our campus so much that the least we can do is to get out and be with them. The most difficult part for me is just being so out of touch with our players with exam time coming up and academic issues. It's just a long week, but it's so much fun being with the Rebel people and the passion that they have."

- And here's Bjork: "It's hard to believe, but it's still the same energy. What's been cool is that just about every place has been packed, really with the exception of one place, and the energy that's out there as far as away as Baton Rouge. Everybody's fired up about Ole Miss. That's what makes this worthwhile to do it. People get excited to see you. Winning makes people believe and gives them confidence and puts what we've been talking about into perspective that we can do it."

- Bjork, who recently agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep him at Ole Miss through 2019, spoke about many of the same talking points on the tour in a question and answer earlier this month. In case you missed it, here's the State of the Program from April 14.

- The Ole Miss baseball team completed a 3-2 week, highlighted by a Saturday doubleheader sweep and home series win over Alabama, to improve to 23-22 overall and 10-11 in SEC play entering the final 11 games of the regular season, including weekend series at Missouri and then home series against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

- Barring any rainouts, Ole Miss needs to go 6-5 over the final 11 games to finish two games over .500 and head to the SEC Tournament with a cushion. Ole Miss is currently tied with Auburn for eighth place in the SEC standings, 3.0 games ahead of Tennessee/Mississippi State, both at 7-14, for the 12th and final place in the SEC Tournament.

"You keep everything in perspective, and obviously today was disappointing," said Austin Knight after their loss Sunday. "But getting two of three and playing as well as we did Saturday was a good sign for us."

- On the mound, Brady Bramlett and Scott Weathersby combined for the Rebels' first shutout of the season, while Christian Trent also turned in a brilliant start to lift Ole Miss to a doubleheader sweep on Saturday. On the other side, head coach Mike Bianco said they will weigh other options for the third spot in the weekend rotation going forward.

- Interesting stat: In the Rebels' 4-0 shutout win over Alabama on Saturday night, Bramlett and Weatherby combined for 11 strikeouts compared to zero walks.

- As a team, Ole Miss swung it better this week, breaking double digits for runs in two of the five games and hitting at a .368 clip for the week, raising the team batting average 15 points to .262 for the season. Connor Cloyd tallied a multi-hit game in each of the five games, hitting .565 (13-for-23) with six runs scored and six RBI.

- Interesting stat II: After not hitting a home run in his first 183 career at-bats, Austin Knight hit home runs in back-to-back at-bats, the last at-bat of Saturday night's game and the first at-bat of Sunday afternoon's game.

- The Ole Miss men's and women's tennis teams will learn their NCAA Tournament destinations when the women's field is announced on Tuesday at 4 p.m., followed by the men's field at 4:30 p.m. 

- The men, ranked No. 13 in the nation, are in good position to host the NCAA first and second rounds. The women, ranked No. 20 in the nation, are likely on the road for the NCAA first and second rounds, but perhaps because of their higher ranking, they will avoid one of the higher national seeds in the field.

- Senior Nik Scholtz, already the first Rebel to be named SEC Freshman and Player of the Year in a career, made some more history this past week. He was named to the All-SEC first team, becoming the first Rebel to be named to the All-SEC first team all four years.

- With three wins, two over Alcorn State and another over South Carolina, the Ole Miss softball team is one win shy of the most in school history, set during the 2005 season. The Rebels have four regular season games remaining, a midweek game at Mississippi Valley State and then a three-game series at Texas A&M, before starting play in the Southeastern Conference.

- Looking ahead to the 2015 football season, Freeze also spoke to reporters about the offseason strength and conditioning program for his team, headed by head football strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson: "He'll have them ready. I have great trust in Paul and his staff, and he knows what he has to done for them to get into fall camp ready to roll."

- Also, in case you missed it, check out the Ole Miss football season tickets promo. Great work from Ole Miss Sports Productions.

- The Ole Miss football program is expected to add to its NFL presence with the 2015 NFL Draft next weekend, held Thursday through Saturday in Chicago and televised on ESPN and NFL Network. Cody Prewitt (No. 4 free safety, No. 124 overall player) and Senquez Golson (No. 16 cornerback, No. 129 overall players) are both projected fourth-round picks according to CBS Sports' latest NFL Draft prospect rankings

- Prewitt and Golson would become the second and third players drafted during the Hugh Freeze era, joining Donte Moncrief, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of last year's NFL Draft.

Key Spring Dates

The spring athletics season has official kicked off, and here are a few key dates that won't show up on the usual team schedules. You will be hearing tons more about these events in the coming weeks, but consider this your save the date.

March 5 - Football spring practice starts
March 31 - Rebels Choice Awards
April 5 (AM) - 25th Annual Chucky Mullins Courage Award Ceremony Presented by the M-Club
April 5 - Grove Bowl
April 13-18 - BancorpSouth Rebel Road Trip



Follow me on twitter @CampbellKyle.

RRT12: Media Blitz

IMG2342-XL.jpg

We expected the Rebel Road Trip to generate a concentrated burst of media coverage, and it did not disappoint. We confirmed at least 45 examples of earned media from 36 different outlets, including 18 newspapers and 14 TV stations. Here are some of the more notable clips from the coverage.

Daily Mississippian: Rebel Road Trip off and running

Ole Miss Spirit: Rebels On The Road

Hattiesburg American: Ole Miss football coach delights area Rebel fans

Sun Herald: Rebel Visit Rallies Fans

Meridian Star: Rebel Road Trip Rolls into Meridian

WDAM: Freeze, Bjork of Ole Miss stop in Waynesboro

WAPT 16: Rebel Road Tour rolls into Jackson

Clarion Ledger: Redemption Road

ABC 33/40: Rebel Road Trip: Hugh Freeze Visits Birmingham

CBS 42: Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze in Town

Daily Journal: Ole Miss hierarchy spreads message in Tupelo

WTVA: Rebel Road Trip stops in Tupelo

Vicksburg Post: Bjork has big plans for Ole Miss

Commercial Dispatch: Fans ready to support Freeze, Bjork, Rebels

Enterprise-Journal: Making 'it' happen: Freeze, Ole Miss officials appear at Fernwood C.C.

Desoto Times Tribune: Freeze revs up Rebel fans

Clarksdale Press Register: Freeze speaks to Rebel Club

Commercial Appeal: Ole Miss' athletic leaders take message of unity on road

 

Follow me on Twitter @CampbellKyle.


RRT12: Capacity Crowds

IMG2368-XL.jpgCrowds on the 16 events of the Rebel Road Trip exceeded our expectations at practically at every stop. Attendance ranged from 110 for the morning meeting in McComb to 680 for the evening event in Jackson.  Not including the thousands on hand at Double Decker, total fans for the 15 stops were 3,241 (216.0 per event). Below are the average attendance numbers per time of day and those stops that reached capacity at their venue.

Morning average: 151.2
Middday average: 154.0
Evening average: 343.0

Jackson-680
Tupelo-300
Corinth-240 (turned away 100)
Nashville-240
West Point-145
Birmingham-115

Follow me on Twitter @CampbellKyle.



RRT12: Staff Shoutouts

A lot of people had a hand in making Rebel Road Trip 2012 a reality. From the two advanced teams that prepped each venue to the folks back in Oxford, here are some of the individuals that deserve credit for making the inaugural RRT a success. We apologize for anyone not mentioned.

Speakers Group
Dan Jones, Chancellor
Ross Bjork, Athletics
Hugh Freeze, Football
Tim Walsh, Alumni Association
Kyle Campbell, Athletics
Keith Carter, UMAA Foundation
Tom Eppes, University
Richard Noble, Alumni Association
Scott Noss, University
Ben Burns, Volunteer (and more!)

Advanced Team 1
Port Kaigler, Alumni Association (leader)
Paris Buchanan, Athletics
Sheila Dossett, Alumni Association
Daniel Morrow, Alumni Association
Matt Mossberg, UMAA Foundation
Steve Mullen, Alumni Association
Jim Urbanek, Alumni Association

Advanced Team 2
Brandon Hudspeth, Athletics (leader)
Clay Cavett, Alumni Association
Ken Edwards, Athletics
Julian Gilner, Alumni Association
Eric Gross, UMAA Foundation
Sarah Kathryn Hickman, Alumni Association
Scott Thompson, Alumni Association

Others
Joseph Baumbaugh, Alumni Association
Jordan Dillon-Maginnis, Alumni Association
Micah Ginn, Athletics
Greg Gray, Athletics
Dan Pellegrino, Athletics
Michael Thompson, Athletics
Lee Tyner, University
Danny White, UMAA Foundation
Rusty Woods, Alumni Association

Follow me on Twitter @CampbellKyle.

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    Joe Snaidauf said:

    Rebs stay healthy, they can win it all!!!

    in post Eleven Rebels Garner Phil Steele Preseason Honors

    Jamie laverty said:

    Bulmer I love you and ole Miss

    in post Fast Runner From Down Under

    Rhonda said:

    Coach Freeze is a genuine coach and our players and fans adore him!!

    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year

    Gary Vaughn said:

    It's great to be a Rebel fan. Coach Freeze
    Has brought back the excitement
    Competitiveness we all so desire. The
    fan base and even our doubters are
    Paying attention. Even the whole country
    Sport tLk shows ect. Are taking notice.
    After we upset Alabama this weekend
    38-27 we will bolt to a top 12 or better
    Ranking. Go Rebels

    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year

    Tom said:

    I am not and never have been an Ole Miss fan. I am however a Coach Freeze fan. I like what he represents in today's world of big time sports and what he stands for in leading young men of today into a more responsible role. He is everything that Ole Miss has never had. I am on his band wagon winning or losing.

    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year

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    How can I get my hands on one of these?

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    Dave Darnell said:

    Gray pants with red and blue stripes on the legs have served Ole Miss football my entire life time. The blue on blue, red on red and white on white are hideous and UGLY! Leave the pants alone.

    Dave Darnell
    Ole Miss '68
    ddarn@aol.com

    in post New Football Uniforms Unveiled

    JT said:

    Tiger fan here (LSU) b we now have 3 in the SEC. You guys looked great last year. You looked coached, and the players were up for every game. Good to see you back in the hunt.

    in post Looking Ahead to 2013 On Gridiron