Monday, August 16, 2010
Conference USA 2010-Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles
2009 Record: 7-6 (5-3)
Head Coach: Larry Fedora (3rd season, 14-12)
Offensive Coordinator: Blake Anderson (1st season)
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Bradford (3rd season)
2009 Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl, lost to Middle Tennessee State 42-32
Offense: Austin Davis returns at QB after missing most of last season with a foot injury, and Martevious Young, who started most of last season, also comes back. Both QBs have benefits, and both could probably start anywhere in the league other than at Houston and UTEP. Three backs will compete to start at RB in 2010, with VJ Floyd, Desmond Johnson, and Tracey Lampley battling for carries. DeAndre Brown is one of the best receivers in the country, and is always a big threat to score when not covered properly.The line replaces everyone but the center.
Defense: Almost everyone returns, but everyone has to get better to move USM up in the world. The D only ranked 80th nationally in total D in 2009, and that is why the Eagles can't move up from 7 wins. Every single member returns on the front 7. LB Korey Willams had 121 tackles and 11 TFLs in 2009. There will be 2 new starters in the secondary with CB CJ Bailey, and all CUSA pick, and SS Justin Wilson coming back.
Special Teams: Danny Hampmann takes over at PK in 2010, a position that was nothing but migraines for Coach Fedora in 2009. Kickers missed 10 EPs in 2009. Peter Boehme returns at punter, but is nothing special. Tracey Lampley is a dangerous kick return guy, and can score both on punt aqnd kickoff returns, as he did last season.
Wins: 9/11 Prarie View, 9/25 @ Louisiana Tech, 10/2 Marshall, 10/9 East Carolina, 10/16 @ Memphis, 10/30 UAB, 11/6 Tulane
Toss Up Games: 9/17 Kansas, 11/13 @ UCF, 11/26 @ Tulsa
Losses: 9/2 @ South Carolina, 11/20 Houston
If the Eagles can get their issues together in fall camp, than 7 to 10 wins are possible. There really are no easy wins for USM in CUSA play, as everyone just shoots it out, but The schedule is manageable.
Outlook: Larry Fedora is desperate to move USM over the 7 win hump. This team has not been any better since Jeff Bowers was forced out after 17 seasons with Fedora at the helm, and he is trying to make the faithful realize that he was a solid choice. This has to be the year that tangeable proof is on the table. I see a bowl, and if the issues are straightened out on the o-line and on defense, this could be the year.