NCAA FB

2003 PREVIEW: Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Share This Story

foxsports admin

 
   
 
For more previews, predictions and prognostications, go to the CollegeFootballNews.com.

|

Considering Southern Miss went 8-5, got to a bowl game, and reestablished itself as a conference power, give the program credit for realizing that all wasn't quite right. Enter new offensive coordinator Rip Scherer who'll try and turn the relatively stagnant offense into something explosive. Offense has never been a strong suit of Golden Eagle attack, but it needs to be. If they can consistently start to move the ball and become more productive this season, this will be a whale of a team with a defense that should be among the best in college football. Southern Miss got its swing back last year with a defensive performance most programs would die for holding teams to a scoring average of 18.3 per game. As good as , and the boys are, they had problems against the big-time teams. In the game it needed to have against TCU, the Eagles gave up 37 points. In a stunning loss , the Green Wave put up 31. receiver torched the secondary in USM's bowl loss. On the surface it might seem like the defense broke down, but it simply didn't get any help from the offense. TCU, and could play a little D as well last season. If the offense can't start taking the heat off, games against teams like , and TCU are going to be tough. The defense is strong, but it needs a little help to carry the team all the way to the Conference USA title.

Team Information
Head coach: Jeff Bower
13th season: 80-58-1
Returning O Lettermen: 17
Returning D Lettermen: 28
Returning ST Lettermen: 1
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Players
1. LB , Sr.
2. FS , Sr.
3. LB , Jr.
4. DE , Sr.
5. CB , Sr.
6. DT , Jr.
7. WR , Jr.
8. WR Marvin Young, Jr.
9. LB , Jr.
10. DE , Sr.
2003 Schedule
8/30
9/6 at
9/13 Eastern Ill.
9/20 MTSU
9/27 at
10/11
10/18 at
10/25
11/1
11/8 at
11/15
11/22 at St.
The Schedule: All things considered, the slate is set up for a statement season. The defense is going to be strong enough to win games against almost everyone. The tough games will be at , , at , at , and TCU. Cal's offense will still be trying to get its feet wet in the opener, 's option could hit a brick wall against the USM linebackers, might not have the firepower to get past the Eagle D, USM played a better Bama team tough last season, and shouldn't be able to do much on the road. That leaves the TCU game. The Horned Frogs have to come to Hattiesburg for the showdown for the Conference USA title. Missing is never a bad thing. Best Offensive Player: Junior WR . He isn't flashy, but he started to become a star by the end of last season. With maturing quarterbacks throwing him the ball and good receivers to take the heat off, he should lead the team in receiving again. Best Defensive Player: Senior LB . Davis has been one of the best pure tacklers in college football over the last few years. This off-season he worked on getting faster and even stronger. Considering Davis would be a starter in the NFL for most teams this season, the thought of him being better is frightening. Key player to a successful season: The passing game will be fine with more practice and more reps. The key will be how well the running game works in the new two-back set operating behind an inexperienced line. Running back had problems staying healthy last season. Now he has to replace the 1,194 yards and 11 touchdowns of . The season will be a success if: Southern Miss wins ten games. Yup, set the bar high. Unless injuries strike, there's no reason to think that this team can't beat almost everyone on its schedule. The offense won't be consistent enough to get through the year unbeaten, but a Conference USA title and a top 20 finish should be expected. Key game: Nov. 20 vs. TCU. With the 37-7 loss still fresh in everyone's mind, this is the game the team is looking forward to. If this isn't for the Conference USA title, it'll go a long way to determining the champion. 2002 Fun Stats:
  • Fumbles: USM 31, lost 19 - Opponents 19, lost 11
  • TD passes: USM 11 - Opponents 6
  • Sacks: Opponents 48 - USM 39
    2003 Recruiting Class
    Star of the Class
    WR 6-0 170 Rosedale, Miss./West Bolivar HS
    Accumulated 2,081all-purpose yards ... Three-year totals: 158 receptions for 2,646 yards and scored 32 touchdowns ... Finished with 65 receptions for 756 yards (11.6 ypc) and scored 16 touchdowns ... 17 carries for 241 yards, 1 TD ... Nine kickoff returns for 316 yards with a long return of 61 yards, scoring one touchdown ... 21 punt returns for 268 yards with a long return of 44 yards, scoring three touchdowns ... Helped led West Bolivar to a 10-2 record before bowing out in the state playoffs.

    Damion Carter QB 6-3 185 New Orleans, La./Isidore Newman HS
    Derek Chapman TE 6-5 260 Germantown, Tenn./Germantown HS
    OL 6-5 260 New Orleans, La./McDonough 35 HS
    James Denley ATH 6-3 218 Foley, Ala./Foley HS
    *Ken Griffith LB 6-3 245 Brandon, Miss./Brandon HS
    *Robert Henderson LB 6-4 225 Ponchatoula, La./Ponchatoula HS
    Caleb Hendrix WR/DB 6-0 185 Ensley, Ala./P.D. Jackson - Olin HS
    Johnathan Landor DL 6-4 255 Mandeville, La./Fountainbleau HS
    Darren McCaleb K 5-11 170 Biloxi, Miss./D'Iberville HS
    WR/DB 6-1 190 Birmingham, Ala./A.H. Parker HS
    Andy Nobles OL 6-5 280 Pine, La./Pine HS
    Anthony Perine WR 5-11 175 Lucedale, Miss./George County HS
    Martavious Prince DE 6-4 263 Ft. Pierce, Fla./Ft. Pierce Westwood HS
    Chris Rhoden WR 6-4 195 MacClenny, Fla./Baker County HS
    Chaz Richards LB 5-11 240 Troy, Ala./Charles Henderson HS
    Chuck Ross ATH 5-11 185 Lucedale, Miss./Green County HS
    OL 6-4 308 Daytona Beach, Fla./Seabreeze HS
    Larry Thomas RB 6-0 195 Jackson, Miss./Callaway HS
    Alan Whitney TE 6-5 250 Fairhope, Ala./Fairhope HS
    Jeremy Young QB 6-4 198 Jackson, Miss./Provine HS
    *Potential Instant Impact Players

  • Tagged: Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Cincinnati, Louisville, San Diego State

    More Stories From foxsports admin

    College Football Pick'em on FOX


    NCAA FB Videos

    Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
    Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

    AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
    UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

    Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
    Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

    Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

    More Than Sports on MSN

    Fox Sports Store

      itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
      Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
      Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
      Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
      Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
      Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
      Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
      adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
      adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
      Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
      Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash