Is Southern Miss starting from scratch?
Posted Apr 10, 2012

From the Scout publishers, here's the inside info on the key questions this spring.

Spring 2012 - Key Questions

Southern Miss

What's happening this spring season? Several FSN publishers provide their insider info on the key questions that matter to the real world of college football. Scroll down for the links to all the spring questions.

Q: With all the personnel turnover and big changes, is the coaching staff starting from scratch?

From Drew White, … There will be some personnel changes due to losing some key players to graduation, but the good news is that Larry Fedora and his staff put together several strong recruiting classes in a row, and there is plenty of talent for the new staff to work with.

The only two areas with turnover and major changes are at quarterback and linebacker. Every other position will return players with experience. This is a veteran staff under new coach Ellis Johnson, and they know how to prepare a team. They have taken a very businesslike approach, and it's paying off.

What needs more work and rebuilding/retooling, the Southern Miss O or the D?

To this point in the spring, the defense has dominated and looks very strong. They will be running a very similar defense to last season's, so it has been a seamless transition for them. The strength of this defense could be the secondary, which is loaded with speed, talent, and experience.

Deron Wilson and JaCorious Cotton lead that unit that will be very tough on opposing offenses.

The biggest shoes to fill will be at linebacker, where the Eagles are replacing two seniors. Several candidates have emerged, with Alan Howze stepping up as well as redshirt freshman Terrick Wright and JuCo transfer Dylan Reda.

The defensive line is very talented. All-world athlete Jamie Collins harasses opposing quarterbacks at the "bandit" position, and Rakeem Nunez has stood out early in the interior of the D-Line.

Offensively, it will take more time because of the loss of senior quarterback Austin Davis. The offense will be similar, but there will be some subtle changes that will take more reps to run smoothly. The Eagles are still loaded at running back despite losing Jamal Woodyard for the season.

Kendrick Hardy is back after an injury last season kept him away most of the season, and Desmond Johnson is in his senior year along with Mr. Everything and the explosive Tracey Lampley, who will see time all over the field on offense.

The receivers return two tall play makers in Chris Briggs and Dominique Sullivan, both of who emerged as big time targets last season.

What's the biggest insider storyline from this spring that the average fan should know about?

Who will replace four-year starter Austin Davis? At this point, both Chris Campbell and redshirt freshman Ricky Lloyd appear to be neck and neck with neither emerging much this spring. This battle will probably come down to the fall, where five-star QB Anthony Alford will join the mix as a true freshman. With everything else in place, the emergence and solid play at QB will determine if this team can win another conference championship.

- Really, who is Notre Dame's best QB option?
- What does Michigan have to do to beat Bama?
- How have things changed at Arizona State?
- Is BYU motivated as an independent?
- Does the Oklahoma D have a new attitude?
- Is Southern Miss starting from scratch?
- Is anything improving at Duke?
- Is Cal's Jeff Tedford on any real hot seat?
- Does Wisconsin have a receiving corps?
- Is SMU RB Zach Line back and healthy?
- What's Changing At ASU Under Gus Malzahn?

- Is The Nevin Shapiro Case Affecting Miami?
- How Is UCLA Different So Far Under Jim Mora?
- Will Florida State Finally Turn The Corner?
- Will Rutgers Be Better Without Greg Schiano?
- Will The Alabama Defense Be As Good As 2011?
- Can Boise State Go On Without Kellen Moore?
- Who Are Northwestern's New Offensive Weapons?
- Is Clemson Over The Orange Bowl Disaster?
- Who's The Next Great Illinois D Lineman?
- What's Changing At ASU Under Gus Malzahn?