Paul Finebaum believes Hugh Freeze could wind up on the move after a few seasons at Liberty. The former Ole Miss head coach’s alma mater, Southern Miss, just had its head coach position open up after just one game.
Week 1 was rough for Southern Miss, with the proud Conference USA program falling to South Alabama 32-21. The team was outgained 526 yards to 407 by the Jaguars, and lost by multiple scores despite not turning the ball over, and picking off USA twice. Jay Hopson had four straight winning seasons at Southern Miss, but after the flat performance, he resigned from the job.
After the move, a number of interesting names popped up for the job. Larry Fedora and Todd Monken, two former USM head coaches, are both potentially available. Neither has the profile of Freeze, one of the few coaches who can say he’s knocked off Nick Saban in back-to-back years.
Freeze is currently at FBS independent Liberty, a school in turmoil far beyond the football program. President Jerry Falwell Jr. has resigned from the school amid scandal. There’s a decent chance that Freeze would take a job like USM, which isn’t necessarily an obvious step up, and may not pay as much, in order to get to a situation that is less fraught with off-field concerns.
Possible Southern Miss candidates: Liberty’s Hugh Freeze (USM grad); Baylor OC Larry Fedora & Georgia OC Todd Monken (both former USM coaches), UTSA DC Tyrone Nix (USM grad/former USM assistant), Tulane OC Will Hall, Memphis OC Kevin Johns & USM interim coach Scotty Walden
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) September 7, 2020
“I don’t know what the succession plans are at Liberty after Jerry Falwell Jr., but clearly Falwell was the person that brought him there. So it could be a factor,” Finebaum continued. “Hugh has wanted to be back in the South at any cost. We all heard the stories, and they were true, that Nick Saban was ready to hire him as the offensive coordinator.
“I think at Southern Miss he’s at least back on the radar screen and my gut feeling is he would take the job just to show that he is ready for prime time again. It’s a good job. Southern Miss is always playing someone we know and occasionally beating them.
“I think it would be hard to find a better fit than Hugh Freeze.”
On the field, Freeze has done a solid job at Liberty, and was obviously doing very well at Ole Miss before scandal forced the program to clean house. A move from Liberty to a less controversial school like Southern Miss, which he has deep connections to and has proven to be a launching pad for coaches, could be a smart move for him.