Is this Hugh Freeze to Liberty thing for real? And if so, how long does it last?

hugh freezeWhich are you more curious about? That Liberty wants Hugh Freeze to be its football coach? Or that Freeze would even be interested in the event that Liberty would want him?

Freeze was apparently on the short lists for several high-profile open offensive coordinator gigs, with Auburn, Florida State and Tennessee among those reportedly interested.

I haven’t seen yet what Liberty is paying Freeze to head up its program, so I’m just guessing here, based on what other lower-echelon FBS schools are known to pay: probably in the $1.2 million to $1.5 million range.

That, incidentally, would be the going rate for a coordinator position in the SEC.

So, you’re Freeze, and you have options on the table that include a coordinator gig in the SEC or a head-coaching gig at a brand-new FBS school, and you take the latter.


This sounds like the Bobby Petrino Plan to me. Remember Petrino, after getting bounced from Arkansas following a scandal, ended up at Western Kentucky for, well, exactly one season, before he landed back at Louisville, where he’d had his greatest success, going 41-9 in four seasons before bolting for the NFL, then Arkansas.

Petrino’s one season at WKU was a modest success: 8-4 overall, 4-3 in the Sun Belt.

But that was enough to get him back to Louisville, where, and you know this would happen, he was eventually forced out, but at least it wasn’t because he wrecked a motorcycle with a woman other than his wife on it.

You have to wonder how long Freeze is at Liberty, given the apparent interest from name-brand programs.

No way he’s there for any kind of long haul. Freeze is 49 years old, meaning he has a couple, maybe three, years to get his name back in some kind of good graces. Just win some football games, take Liberty to a bowl or two, don’t call any hookers – at least, don’t get caught calling any hookers – then wait for another big-boy school to come calling.

The other approach – rehabbing the old reputation running the offense for Auburn, Tennessee or FSU – has its own risk/reward considerations.

Yes, do well in whatever gig you take, and you’re ready to move back into the big chair, probably in a similar time frame.

But, you screw up – and honestly, look at the programs supposedly looking at Freeze, they’re interested because the guy before the next guy screwed up – and you’re no better off than where you are right now, which is nowhere.

Liberty, when you think of it that way, is the safer bet. Looking ahead to 2019, the Flames have tough matchups with Syracuse, BYU and UVA, but the rest of the schedule is light – New Mexico State twice, UMass, Rutgers, Maine, Hampton, Buffalo, New Mexico.

Liberty opens 2020 at Virginia Tech, plays Syracuse and UVA again, goes to NC State, but again, outside of that, there’s a lot of winnable games.

Year 3 sure is interesting, if Freeze is still around: that schedule features a November game at Ole Miss, plus Syracuse, but otherwise, even more winnables.

I’m not sure I see Freeze getting beyond Year 3 before he moves on to greener pastures, but he’s going to win some games in the meantime.

Again, the key here is, not calling hookers, at least not getting caught calling hookers.

Here’s betting he can do that.

Column by Chris Graham


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press news
augusta free press