By Al Jones/Sun Herald (MCT)
Southern Miss opened fall camp Friday with a 2½-hour workout under first-year coach Ellis Johnson.
The Golden Eagles, the defending Conference USA champions, worked in helmets and shirts, during the morning workout at the Joe P. Park Practice Facility.
Southern Miss will work practice without pads through Monday. The Golden Eagles will then work out in full pads on Tuesday with the first scrimmage on Aug, 11.
The second scrimmage will take place on Aug. 22.
Johnson described the first practice as “typical” with the team going through conditioning drills.
“The kids are in pretty good shape and I was pleased with what we got done (today),” said Johnson.
Before opening camp, Johnson said the key to defending the C-USA title will be establishing leadership on both sides of the football.
The same concern held true after the first practice.
Offensively, the Golden Eagles do return a top skilled player in Tracy Lampley.
But the Golden Eagles do not have a starting quarterback to replace Austin Davis. That chore will fall in the hands of Ricky Lloyd, Chris Campbell or true freshman Anthony Alford.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles will rely on Alan Howze at middle linebacker and Deron Wilson in the secondary in the 4-2-5 look.
“We have to find some leadership on this football team,” Johnson said. “I have been saying that since spring drills and it is a major concern of mine. I feel like we have some guys who will step up. We need them to do just that.”
Southern Miss opens the season on Sept. 1 at Nebraska and will host East Carolina on Sept. 15 after an open date.