HOOVER, Ala. Two years ago, Steve Spurrier rankled Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels' fan base by alluding to the team's 2-10 record in 2011.
"You think I make the schedule?" Spurrier said at the time. "If I made the schedule, Georgia'd be playing LSU and we'd be playing Ole Miss." As it worked out, the Gamecocks ended up losing to the Tigers while the Bulldogs beat the Rebels.
But at SEC media days on Thursday, Freeze noted how far his program and his relationship with Spurrier has come in the last two years.
"He and I, we talk frequently now," Freeze said of Spurrier. "I don't know that we've ever had just a direct conversation about (the scheduling comment). But I didn't take it personally. I'm thrilled that I can call him one of my colleagues and friends in the coaching business."
And why fault Spurrier for saying what he did, Freeze said. After all, the Rebels entered the 2012 campaign having lost 14 consecutive games against SEC foes. Now, Ole Miss is coming off back-to-back bowl appearances, improving their record each of the last two years.
His team's continued progress coincides with the growing admiration Freeze has garnered from his peers.
"I tell people all the time of the support that I've received from the coaches in this league. It's been phenomenal," Freeze said. "(Spurrier) and (LSU coach) Les Miles have been tremendous to me in helping me through my first couple years."