Hugh Freeze overhauls Ole Miss staff with 5 new assistants

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday February 16, 2017


Hugh Freeze has completed an overhaul of the Ole Miss staff.

With the addition of Freddie Roach, Freeze has his new set of nine assistants. Coming off a 5-7 season, Freeze made major changes to a staff that had a lot of continuity. Here’s the new Ole Miss staff.

Offensive coordinator Dan Werner wasn’t retained after the year, and defensive coordinator Dave Wommack retired.

To run the offense, Freeze hired Phil Longo, who has produced some of the top FCS offenses at Sam Houston State. This year’s team scored 49.5 points per game, No. 2 in FCS. Longo comes from an Air Raid background, and Freeze has been involved in play-calling in the past. It will be interesting to see how the two mesh next year with QB Shea Patterson.

“Specifically, his units have excelled in three key areas that we need to address — rushing offense, third down efficiency and red zone success,” Freeze said. “From Chip Kelly to Joe Moorhead, we have seen offensive coordinators make successful transitions from FCS to FBS, and I expect Phil to continue that trend.”

To run the defense, Freeze hired Wes McGriff from Auburn. McGriff was set to become Vanderbilt’s coordinator in 2015, but stayed with the New Orleans Saints and joined Auburn as a position coach last year. McGriff was previously Ole Miss’ co-defensive coordinator / cornerbacks coach in 2012. Ole Miss safeties coach Corey Batoon was set to move to an off-field role, but later joined the FAU staff.

Wide receivers coach Grant Heard left for the Indiana staff, so Freeze hired another familiar face in Oregon's Matt Lubick, who was an Ole Miss assistant from 2005-06 alongside Freeze. But Lubick left shortly after for an offensive coordinator job at Baylor. Then Freeze turned to Jacob Peeler, who spent four years at Cal, including two in a full-time role.

Bradley Dale Peveto will remain in the SEC, joining Ole Miss after he was let go by Ed Orgeron at LSU. Peveto spent seven years at LSU over two stints. He was the Northwestern State head coach from 2009-12 and was in the mix for the Lamar head coaching job this offseason.

Lubick wasn't the only coach to join and leave Ole Miss this offseason. Tray Scott joined the staff in late December as defensive line coach, before leaving for Georgia a month later. This week, Freeze hired Alabama director of player development Freddie Roach for the job. Roach spent two years at Alabama and previously coached defensive ends and outside linebackers at South Alabama.

This was the first year Freeze missed a bowl game at Ole Miss. Couple that with a recruiting class ranked No. 45 and questions looming over an NCAA investigation, Freeze is facing some pressure. A staff that had little turnover in Freeze’s first five years now has major changes. Time will tell if it pays off.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.