Paul Finebaum: Hugh Freeze ‘knows the way at Auburn’ and a name to watch

Hugh Freeze is one of the more popular names being floated around to replace Bryan Harsin as Auburn’s head coach should his tenure on the Plains continue to go as poorly as it has been going through 16 games.

Freeze has experience in the SEC from his five seasons coaching Ole Miss and led the Rebels to eight, nine, and 10-win seasons. That is something that seems nearly impossible right now given how the Tigers have fared against the SEC and other Power Five programs (namely Penn State) and even against Houston, a future Big 12 team in 2023, in last year’s Birmingham Bowl.

Paul Finebaum, during a podcast appearance with ESPN’s Matt Barrie, called Hugh Freeze ‘definitely a name you have to keep your eye on.’ Finebaum took it a step further, saying Freeze ‘knows the way at Auburn’ because of the intel his good friend Gus Malzahn has provided him and the fact his daughter attended AU for a while.

The SEC Network host told a story about why he is sold on Hugh Freeze being the leader for a program that badly needs a recruiter who can, at the very least, make Auburn competitive in the trenches (transcript via Saturday Down South):

“A couple of years ago I was in Oxford and I went to dinner with him and he is a very compelling individual,” said Finebaum during a podcast appearance with ESPN’s Matt Barrie. “And he went through all the things that brought him to the unemployment line briefly. And I’m gullible Matt. If you’d been there, you would have been nodding your head going — I’m voting for you Hugh, whatever you’re selling. That’s how good he is.”

Hugh Freeze would be a glove fit at Auburn

Given his experience at Ole Miss and what he has done to make Liberty a nationally relevant program two seasons removed from a 10-win season, Hugh Freeze would be a great fit for Auburn. Unlike Lane Kiffin and Deion Sanders, who both would likely use Auburn as a stepping stone, Freeze feels like the kind of guy whose career would culminate on the Plains.

The Oxford-born coach has already coached the hometown team, so leading another underdog in the form of the Auburn Tigers would be a logical step forward after doing great things with Liberty.