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Hugh Freeze excited about rivalry with Nick Saban, Alabama: “I hope they’re a little nervous today”

Hugh Freeze is the new guy Auburn Football head coach and the storylines are plentiful.

Freeze returns to the SEC after retiring Ole Miss head coach prior to the start of the 2017 season after a “pattern of personal misconduct” was discovered, including Freeze making calls to numbers associated with an escort service from his work phone.

Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Liberty Flames on the sidelines during the Arkansas game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Fayetteville.

Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Liberty Flames on the sidelines during the Arkansas game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Fayetteville.
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

It’s also no secret that Auburn was interested in Lane Kiffin, the current Ole Miss head coach, and then turned to Freeze Kiffin has signed a new contract to stay in Oxford, Mississippi.

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And then there are the storylines that will play out between the lines on the soccer field.

There’s a job at Auburn – beating Alabama.

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and offensive line coach Eric Wolford on the touchline during the Mississippi Rebels game on November 12, 2022 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.

Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and offensive line coach Eric Wolford on the touchline during the Mississippi Rebels game on November 12, 2022 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford.
(Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It’s been three years since the Tigers found a way to beat Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, and Auburn supporters are hoping the program found the right man to flip the script.

Freeze has defeated Saban twice in his career and has back-to-back wins over Alabama at Ole Miss in 2014 and 2015.

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He understands the importance of the Iron Bowl and told reporters at his inaugural press conference that he welcomes the challenge that Alabama poses.

Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze (left) and athletic director John Cohen pose at a news conference in Auburn, Alabama on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze (left) and athletic director John Cohen pose at a news conference in Auburn, Alabama on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.
(AP Photo/Todd Van Emst)

“You don’t take this job unless you’re built to want it,” Freeze said when asked about future encounters with Saban. “I appreciate that. I want it. I want to be in that arena.”

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“I have a lot of respect for Nick,” he continued. “He and Mrs Terry were good friends to us too, but I hope you’re a little nervous today.”

Freeze takes over at The Plains after going 34-15 in four years as head coach at Liberty University.

Auburn hasn’t won more than nine games since the 2017 season.

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