Depth Chart |
The program that has long been known for it fearless schedule
and desire to play anyone, anywhere, anytime has to start winning some of
those challenge games. Over the last three seasons, USM has battled
the big boys on the schedule hard, but it's only 1-7 against BCS
conference teams. Sure, in the 16th year under head coach Jeff Bower
the Golden Eagles would like to become Louisville or TCU or Utah,
but first, it has to become Tulsa and win the league title again.
Maddening in its inconsistency last season, the defense was hardly
Southern Miss-like (for the second season in a row) despite leading
the league in turnovers and scoring defense. The offense was able to
blowout eventual East champion UCF and tore up Tulane and UAB, but
it struggled in losses to bowl teams Tulsa, Houston and Memphis.
However, the team was really, really close to big things with the
last three losses of the year all coming by four points or fewer.
Head coach: Jeff Bower
16th year: 103-72-1
Off. 25, Def. 201, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 17
Best USM Players
1. OG George Batiste. Sr.
2. S Brandon Sumrall, Jr.
3. TE Shawn Nelson, Soph.
4. PK Darren McCaleb, Sr.
5. CB Caleb Hendrix, Sr.
6. OG Travis Cooley, Sr.
7. OT Chris Clark, Jr.
8. CB Jasper Faulk, Sr.
9. WR Anthony Perine, Sr.
10. LB Tokumbo Abanikanda, Soph.
at Virginia Tech
2005 predicted wins
at Alabama L 30-21
at East Carolina
at UAB W 37-28
at NC State L 21-17
Marshall W 27-24 OT
New Orleans Bowl
Arkansas State W 31-19
it's easy to think that a few good bounces here or there could've meant
a possible ten-win season, USM got all the breaks. Correction, it
created much of its own good fortune through turnovers, few penalties,
and aggressive play. So if there can be a little bit more production on
both sides of the ball, as well as all the big plays, there's a good
chance this talented team could be playing for the Conference USA title.
If new starting quarterback Jeremy Young is at all competent, and if the
offensive line can stay healthy, USM will put up points in bunches with
almost everyone coming back at the skill positions along with four starters up front. The defense has a
weird situation with tons of holes needing to be patched, but there's surprising
depth with plenty of options almost everywhere. For a veteran coach like
Bower and his staff, the pieces are in place for a champion.
There's a lot to get excited about with
this team, but it's probably a year away from really big things. In the
meantime, this program will keep on challenging everyone and keep on
being the dangerous Conference USA team no one wants to face.
Schedule: Southern Miss
certainly isn't going soft with non-conference road games against
Florida and Virginia Tech, but it gets NC State at home and gets a nice,
well-deserved layup against SE Louisiana. The good about the Conference
USA schedule: USM will know where it stands right off the bat. The bad:
it plays at UCF and at Tulsa to start off the season. Missing Rice
stinks while getting Tulsa and Houston from the East isn't a break. On the plus side, divisional battles
against East Carolina, Marshall and UAB are at home.
Offensive Player: Senior OG George Batiste. He's 6-5, 309 pounds,
and really, really good. The rock of a veteran, star-studded offensive
line, the big right guard will be the one who finally gets the USM
ground game going.
Defensive Player: Junior S Brandon Sumrall. This isn't your normal
Southern Miss defense with several obvious all-conference players. It's
a deep group that will be far better by the end of the year than it will
be in September. Sumrall is one of the few returning veterans who gets a
starting job back; he'll be the sheriff of the back seven.
to a successful season:
Junior QB Jeremy Young. Three-year starter Dustin Almond
grew into a great leader and a top passer, but he wasn't a runner like
Young and when he had a bad game, so did Southern Miss. Last year, USM
lost four of the six games against D-I teams when Almond threw an
interception. Young doesn't have to throw for a ton of yards like Almond
did, but he has to keep the mistakes to a minimum.
will be a success if ... Southern Miss wins the Conference USA title. This is one of the few
league programs that can honestly shoot for the big prize each and every
year. Another New Orleans Bowl appearance will be a major
Sept. 25 at UCF. USM destroyed the eventual East champion 52-31 last
season. With a nasty road game at Tulsa coming up next, the Golden
Eagles can't lose to George O'Leary's bunch or it will likely be an ugly
1-4 to start the season with Houston and at Virginia Tech ahead.
- First quarter scoring: Southern Miss 116 - Opponents 24
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 100 - Southern Miss 66
- Sacks: Southern Miss 31 for 175 yards - Opponents 15 for 122 yards
The Last Time
…played in a bowl game…2005 (New Orleans Bowl vs. Arkansas State)
…missed a bowl game…2001
…pitched a shutout…2001 (UAB)
…was shutout…2003 (Utah)
…scored 50 points…2005 (UCF)
…won a conference title…2003 (C-USA)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2002 (Derrick Nix)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1998 (Sherrod Gideon)
…had a first-round draft choice…1992 (RB Troy Smith)