Hugh Freeze: People attacking DJ James, Koy Moore need to 'get a life'

Grant Grubbsby:Grant Grubbs12/10/23


Auburn's Most IMPACTFUL Recruits Are All Flips! | Hugh Freeze Master Plan to Land Tigers' '24 Class!

Auburn was one play away from stunning Alabama in the Iron Bowl. After Auburn wide receiver Koy Moore muffed a punt, the Crimson Tide were in perfect position to score. However, the Tigers’ defense held up, forcing Alabama into a seemingly impossible fourth and goal from the 31-yard line.

Yet, after what seemed like an eternity in the pocket, Crimson Tide QB Jalen Milroe did the impossible, air-mailing a perfect spiral over Auburn defensive back DJ James‘ head straight into Isaiah Bond‘s arms in the end zone to give Alabama the lead.

With only 30 seconds left, Auburn failed to strike back. Alabama walked away with its fourth-straight win in the Iron Bowl while Auburn fans pointed their fingers at Moore and James. After the game, Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze stood up for his players.

“I wish I had the words for him. I tried hard. I sat at his locker with him for awhile, he and Koy. It’s just tough,” Freeze said. “This world can be brutal. I get it on coaches, they are going to be brutal on me… You hate to see it when young men who are playing the game get attacked, I hate that. I think those people are, well, those people need to get a life and a perspective.”

A couple weeks removed from the incident, that perspective should be more visible for Auburn fans. In his debut campaign, Freeze led the Tigers to a 6-6 record. They will be facing off against Maryland in the Music City Bowl, the program’s first bowl game since 2020.

Auburn looks to turn its pain into success

While the loss hurt, Freeze knows a season isn’t defined by one game.

“No one hurts more than Koy and DJ,” Freeze said. “Truthfully, in the scheme we were in in that play, DJ will get all the criticism, but truthfully, there should have been someone else standing there with him to help him also. It’s not just him, even though he’s feeling the weight of it.

“His words in the locker room were, ‘Coach, I let you down, I let you down.’ He felt that because of that play, and also right before half he didn’t get the call and the long TD pass, so he felt the weight of the world on him. I told him he’d get through it and we love you. In time, if handled right, it makes him stronger.”

Moore and James will have a chance to show off that strength. On Dec. 30, the Tigers will face off against Maryland at 2 p.m. ET. The bowl game will be broadcast on ABC.