He maketh mistakes.
For example, one night as he walketh through the valley of the shadow of Death Valley of Baton Rouge in 2014, he haveth an unbeaten team and three-point deficit in the part of the game where the seconds do waneth. His team conducteth a fiasco. It lineth uppeth for two field goals that never came, and it addeth the unforgivable sin of a delay-of-game penalty, and it threw an interception with two seconds left which showeth the frailty of man and the hardship and pestilence of the Southeastern Conference.
Just last autumn, his team loseth seven times in 12 games.
In five years, he goeth 39-25, and he beateth Alabama twice, and many saw that it was good, yet it is written in the ancient texts that had he gone 49-15 or even 59-5, and beateth Alabama thrice, it wouldeth been a more curious test case for the eternal power of routinely beating the hell out of thy neighbor from down the highway.
The Hugh Freeze saga at Ole Miss haveth everything. It haveth the alleged recruiting violations, the former player on the holy draft night of 2016 who telleth of the cash payments, the aggrieved former coach (Houston Nutt), the disciples from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, the lawyers, the escort service, the “misdial” to the escort service, the suggestion from the athletic director that perhaps the “misdial” was part of a “pattern.” It harks back through the ancient history of college football, through the fields and the hopes and the Saturdays of the game’s 148 years, all laced with subterfuge, the whole way.
Beyond even that, it haveth the mingling of the gods on the fields and the gods in the sky. “I don’t stand over them, make them do it,” Coach Freeze sayeth of his players and his religion to Kent Babb of The Washington Post in 2014. “Certainly they hopefully see that it’s important to me and maybe the way I live and the way these other coaches live. Maybe it attracts them to it.”
The Twitter feed of the man from Independence, Miss., doth lineth with his Bible.
A retweet of a favorite pastor: “Jesus’ work for you and me is sufficient and complete he doesn’t need us to fake anything in order to protect his reputation.”
Here we seeeth the juxtaposition that will never stop astounding, the one that has breathed through the whole story of this most American of games since Rutgers playeth Princeton in 1869 and the legend goes that a witnessing professor hollereth: “You men will come to no Christian end!” Here, a grubby game (and deliciously so) intersects with a peacocky purity.
“We proactively looked into the rest of his phone records,” Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork said in the surprise news conference Thursday night in Oxford, Miss. “In our analysis, we discovered a pattern of conduct that is not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program. As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern. . . . We will respect his privacy, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his entire family.”
In this old, old story, that pattern concerneth more than whatever recruiting pattern that attracted the NCAA might have concerneth. You just wonder how that pattern would have concerneth if only, amid the 2015-16 Sugar Bowl win and the 3-2 Egg Bowl record (against Mississippi State) and the two triumphs over ’Bama, he had not the frailty to loseth at Memphis (2015), loseth 55-20 in the Egg Bowl (2016), loseth 30-0 at Arkansas (2014), loseth that night in the valley of Death Valley, loseth more than winneth in 2016.
Had he gone 59-5, might the pressure from the surrounding American culture and its American-cultural wallets have proved a notch too overwhelming for a university to condemn a series of misdials? Might the pillars of the community even found the dialing as a shrewd way to alleviate stress? Yet somehow, Freeze also sayeth to Babb, “When my life comes to an end, how much does that scoreboard really matter?”
Oh, it really mattereth. Those who were traversed through Oxford Square on the night of Oct. 4, 2014, long will remembereth.