Eagle defense earning black jerseys

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss completed its second practice of fall camp here Thursday afternoon and second-year coach Larry Fedora continued to be pleased with both the team's effort and progress.
Still, one thing has been missing. Almost missing that is.
The Golden Eagle defense, with the exception of sophomore linebacker Ronnie Thornton (Miami, Fla.), has been sporting gold jerseys to start fall practice instead of the usual black shirts that have been a practice fixture over the years for the program.
The defensive coaching staff, behind the leadership of coordinator Todd Bradford, decided to install a new structure for players to earn their black jerseys in practice.
"There is only one black jersey right now," said Fedora. "Coach Bradford and the defensive staff have a system put together on when a guy earns a black jersey and they have to earn it. Thornton earned his black jersey over the summer as he did the best job of any defensive players in summer workouts."
Bradford, who will run the defense for the second year at Southern Miss, explained it this way.
"They (gold jerseys) are awarded on P.R.I.D.E., which stands for Passion, Respect, Intensity, Discipline and Effort," said Bradford. "The first and only black jersey was given to Thornton for his work in the summer and thus far, through two practices, no one else has earned one."
Still Fedora has liked what his team has accomplished over the first two practices to start fall camp, including Thursday's workout that went 2 ½ hours in helmets and shorts.
"It was a good day and the second one was better than the first, which was the key," Fedora added. "We need to make sure we keep putting another good day on top of good days."
Fedora will take a break from preparations tomorrow morning as he will speak at the First Friday breakfast at 7:15 a.m., at the Southern Oaks House and Gardens.
The Golden Eagles continue preparations for the 2009 season opener against Alcorn State, Sept. 5, when they return to the practice fields Friday afternoon.
Season tickets, as well as single-game tickets, are available through the Southern Miss Athletic Ticket Office. Fans can purchase tickets via online at, or by the phone at 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by walkup at the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., located on West 4th Street on the north side of the Golden Eagle campus.