#101 Southern Miss Football 2013 Preview

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Overall Rank: #101
#7 Conference USA
#101 Southern Miss Football 2013 Preview
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Southern Miss would like to forget the 2012 season as quickly as possible. The school fired Ellis Johnson after just one season, but it was an amazingly bad season. The Golden Eagles went 0-12 and now it is time to rebuild and look towards the future. Coach Todd Monken heads to Hattiesburg after a stint as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator and expect that high flying offense to come with him. However, it will not be very effective until Coach Monken can get the players to fit the system.

2012 Record: (0-12, 0-8)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Todd Monken (First season at Southern Miss, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Arroyo
Defensive Coordinator: David Duggan

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Jalen Richard, RB, 426 yards
Passing: Chris Campbell, QB, 322 yards
Receiving: Dominique Sullivan, WR, 331 yards
Tackles: Alan Howze, LB, 66
Sacks: Alan Howze, LB, 2.5
Interceptions: Kalan Reed, CB, 1; Dylan Reda, LB, 1; Khyri Thornton, DT, 1; Deron Wilson, CB, 1

Other Key Returnees: OT Vincent Brown, S Jacorius Cotton, LB Jerrion Johnson, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, G Ed Preston, DE Michael Smith

Key Losses: RB Anthony Alford, LB Jamie Collins, G Joe Duhon, RB Desmond Johnson, WR Tracy Lampley, WR Quentin Pierce, C Austin Quattrochi, OT Jason Weaver

With Monken coming up with offensive schemes, Southern Miss suddenly has the potential to score some points after tallying less than 20 per game a year ago. Jalen Richard is a capable running back and Dominique Sullivan can be a big playmaker at wide receiver if somebody can get him the ball. Add Tracy Lampley, Rickey Bradley, Francisco Llanos and Dimitri Smith to the mix and USM has a decent receiving corps and that is what Coach Monken needs. But he needs a quarterback too. The Golden Eagles went through five signal callers last year and it was not pretty. Anthony Alford was the player with the most potential, but he opted to transfer to Mississippi. That leaves Chris Campbell, Ricky Lloyd, Cole Weeks and Kyle Sloter. Campbell played in four games last year, throwing for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Cole Weeks had a very good outing in the spring game, throwing for 310 yards and was one of the many quarterbacks who saw a bit of playing time in 2012. Sloter is a redshirt freshman who may need some more time to develop, but he will be given more of an opportunity in the fall.

The Southern Miss defense was put into a lot of tough situations due to the offense turning the ball over and they did an admirable job. But this is still a team that allowed nearly 38 points per contest and no amount of improvement in the offense is going to make up for that. Linebacker Jamie Collins is gone after totaling 92 tackles, 20.0 tackles-for-loss and 10.0 sacks. The Golden Eagles are going to have to find a new leader in the middle of the defense. Alan Howze is an option, joining Jamie Collins and Deron Wilson as one of the few defensive players to start all 12 games in 2012. The front line needs to find a consistent pass rushing threat and Michael Smith is probably the best option. He started 11 games last year and only tallied one sack, but Smith was just a freshman and he is poised for a breakout season.

The Bottom Line:
The secondary performed relatively well last season and safety Jacorius Cotton and corner Kalan Reed are back to join Wilson in the secondary. Wilson is one of the best cover corners in Conference USA and the Southern Miss secondary should be relatively tough to throw against as long as the front seven can do their job. But the more interesting thing to watch will be the offense. Southern Miss could see drastic improvement, although just about anything would be a drastic improvement compared to the 0-12 season, if the quarterback situation can be successfully settled. If that happens, Southern Miss could even be thinking about a bowl game by November.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 154.58 (62nd in nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 168.25 (108, 11)
Total Offense: 322.83 (106, 10)
Scoring Offense: 19.67 (110, 12)
Rushing Defense: 207.50 (108, 11)
Pass Defense: 219.00 (43, 2)
Total Defense: 426.50 (83, 6)
Scoring Defense: 37.83 (113, 10)
Turnover Margin: -1.33 (115, 12)
Sacks: 1.58 (87, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (90, 7)


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