Finishing up the Ross Bjork interview with comments on the bowl situation — He’s not ruling out the Music City Bowl — and a possible raise for Hugh Freeze …
(How are bowl discussions going? Is it pretty solid that Ole Miss will play in Birmingham?)
“We really have to see what happens above us with the Music City Bowl, what happens to Vanderbilt and where they go. Once that decision is made with the Gator, the Outback and the Chick-Fil-A with other teams, and we see what happens with Vanderbilt, if Vanderbilt goes somewhere else, then I think the Music City Bowl is definitely in play for Ole Miss. We’ll see what happens this weekend. There are games to be played. It will come down to those last few picks and who’s available. I think we’re in play, and we have to see how it all shakes out.
(Will Ole Miss fans be supportive of the Birmingham bowl?)
“I think we will have great support wherever we go. Our fans are hungry to continue to watch this team. We’ve played hard throughout, our offense has been explosive, our defense has played hard. I think people will go wherever we play, whether that’s Birmingham, Memphis or Nashville or Alaska. I think people are going to support this team. We’re excited about wherever we’ll be going. We’re happy to have the momentum of the bowl game. We’ll take it and ride the wave moving ahead.”
(Have you seen news stories with Hugh Freeze linked to some of the current job openings?)
I think I saw something earlier today that someone had sent me.
(Anyone contacted you about Hugh?)
“We’re in great dialogue with coach Freeze and his representatives. We believe long-term plans here are in place with coach Freeze and myself, this program and this administration. We think the sky’s the limit. We believe in coach Freeze and what these guys are doing, and we believe he’s here for the long haul as well. But I’m not going to take that for granted, I’m not going to take that for granted.
“We’re being pro-active, and that’s what you have to do in this business. You have to always be prepared. You can’t rest. You can’t assume or think that things are just going to maintain themselves. You have to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect the program and the continuity we have in place.”
(Are you looking at a raise for Hugh?)
“The contract was laid out pretty well. I thought it was very creative. We’ll look at the security of that moving into the future. We want him to have security, we want to have security for the program. We’re analyzing all that right now and addressing some things, talking to coach and his representatives, and we’ll figure out some details here hopefully in the next couple of weeks.”