Despite being one of the first to declare themselves on the market in the 2011 coaching carousel, the Mississippi Rebels have already watched a handful of schools lock up their next skippers. The Gus Malzahn rumor came and went, leaving Southern Miss' Larry Fedora, Arkansas State's Hugh Freeze, and Louisiana-Lafayette's Mark Hudspeth as the presumed final three.
You might be able to make that the final two, if Oxford radio is on its game. The Reb Sports Radio Network reports Hudspeth has turned down Ole Miss after an interview, though the details -- his work history is an issue because it includes Mississippi State? -- sound too bizarre even for Ole Miss. The popular thinking there: if Dan Mullen goes to Penn State, former quarterbacks coach Hudspeth could accompany him.
Freeze, who's also believed to have interviewed, has issued a non-denial rebuttal to the rumor circuit:
"I want to be clear that my focus right now is on our players and our football team's game against Troy this week," said Freeze. "We want to minimize distractions and finish this outstanding season strong. Myself and our team are 100 percent focused on the difficult task we have ahead of us this week facing a very talented Troy team.
"This is a process that is a part of this business, but I also want to express how ecstatic I am to be the head football coach at Arkansas State University."