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2013 SOUTHERN MISS FOOTBALL

June 26, 2013
By Brian Cox of INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Southern Miss Golden Eagles (2003 - Pres)

 

Coach: Todd Monken (0-0, first season; 0-0 overall)

2012 record: 0-12 (0-8 in Conference USA, sixth in C-USA East)

Offensive starters returning: 4

Offensive starters lost: 7

Defensive starters returning: 9

Defensive starters lost: 2

Key losses: QB Anthony Alford, DL Jamie Collins, OL Austin Quattrochi, OL Jason Weaver, DB Deron Wilson, RB Desmond Johnson

Top returnees: DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches, WR Dominique Sullivan, LB Dylan Reda, DL Michael Smith, DL Khyri Thornton, LB Alan Howze

 

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (2003 - Pres)


A year after going 12-2 and winning the Conference USA championship, the Golden Eagles suffered an utter collapse under first-year coach Ellis Johnson, finishing without a win. It was the first time since 1993 Southern Miss finished with a losing record, and its first season since 2001 without playing in the postseason. There were some near-misses during the season — most notably a four-point loss to Louisville, a double-overtime defeat at UCF and a one-point loss to UTEP — but the Golden Eagles got little going during the season. They struggled offensively, ranking 106th in the country in total offense, and also gave up 37.8 points per game — eighth-worst in the country.

The Golden Eagles hope the turnaround of the team starts with a defense that returns nine starters and brings back former defensive coordinator Dave Duggan, who left last season to coach at North Carolina under former Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora. The Golden Eagles bring back three top defensive linemen and have four starting-quality linebackers behind them. That should help improve a unit that gave up 207.5 rushing yards per game last season, and struggled especially keeping teams out of the end zone.

There is little settled on the offensive side of the ball. Southern Miss lost several experienced starters on the offensive line, as well as the one quarterback, Alford, who had shown flashes of effectiveness in his five starts. The freshman transferred to Ole Miss. The Golden Eagles are looking everywhere for a quarterback, including walk-on Cole Weeks and redshirt freshman Kyle Sloter. No returning back had more than 451 yards rushing last season. Monken will want to establish a running game, and whether they find the right mix in the backfield could dictate how well the offense copes this season.

For a second consecutive year, Southern Miss will be going through a coaching transition. Fortunately, it has nowhere to go but up. The Golden Eagles face a brutal nonconference schedule that includes three tough road games at Nebraska, Arkansas and Boise State. Not the best gauntlet to sort out the issues that come with putting in a new system. The new-look C-USA should provide more relief this year, however, and Southern Miss hopes it is far better on defense with the return of Duggan. The Golden Eagles should pick up a few more wins this season, but they're likely a couple years away from returning to postseason football.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (2003 - Pres)



2013 schedule

Aug. 31 Texas State

Sept. 7 at Nebraska

Sept. 14 at Arkansas

Sept. 28 at Boise State

Oct. 5 FIU

Oct. 19 at East Carolina

Oct. 26 North Texas

Nov. 2 at Marshall

Nov. 9 at Louisiana Tech

Nov. 16 FAU

Nov. 23 Middle Tennessee State

Nov. 30 at UAB


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