By Jason Munz
HATTIESBURG – Todd Monken is giving Southern Miss players some personal time.
With winless Southern Miss mired in a 15-game losing streak, the Golden Eagles coach plans to use the team’s bye week to focus his players on themselves. Not on their next opponent, the always-tough Boise State. Not on the yearlong skid.
Just on themselves.
“We’ve been through probably about seven straight weeks (of preparing to play a game),” Monken said. “So all we did (Tuesday) was go against each other and work on us. That’s all we did. Our rules – guys applying the rules of our system.”
There’s certainly room for improvement.
Last week’s 24-3 defeat at Arkansas was the first time the Golden Eagles (0-3) had been held to as few as three points since 2004 (vs. Alabama) and the first time since 2006 (vs. Virginia Tech) they failed to score a touchdown.
And for players like freshman defensive lineman Dylan Bradley and senior offensive lineman Ed Preston, the bye week provides them the time to actually correct their issues.
“(We’re working on) getting more consistent,” Bradley said. “Now, we’re almost at the middle part of our season, so it’s about technique and getting yourself mentally and physically stable. This bye week is just basically for us to break down every aspect of the game. It gives us time to break it down now.”
Preston said: “At every position, really, we just need to hone our skills. We’ve got to be perfect, and practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Following the bye week, the Golden Eagles travel to Boise State for a 9:15 p.m. kickoff.
Monken said the Broncos are the least of his team’s worries.
“You can’t cover everything (during a non-bye week),” he said. “And that’s the hard part we’re going through – guys applying the rules of our system. So we get to an opponent, and because we haven’t had the system up for very long, it’s hard for them to apply.
“So you’re constantly trying to work on what we do.”
Bradley said he believes the bye week comes at a needed time.
“We’re glad the bye week came when it did,” he said. “We know we haven’t been hitting on all cylinders as a team, so we come into this bye week (looking) to get everything straight.”
The Golden Eagles practiced Wednesday and will against today. They will put in some conditioning work early Friday.
Monken said he plans to give the team the rest of the day off on Friday and all of Saturday off before returning to practice Sunday.