HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team got a break from the weather for its first full scrimmage Saturday morning under first-year coach Ellis Johnson on the game field at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at Roberts Stadium.
The temperature never got above 90-degrees for the practice and, for the Golden Eagle coach, the break in the weather was an unwelcome one.
"I think, overall, we got a lot done," said Johnson. "Mother Nature didn't cooperate like I wanted and she actually made it too cool. I think the real field and the heat index never got to 100-degrees and we really moved practice up to try to do that because it's going to happen. These guys know it. They have been on [this field] many times when it was worse than this, but it is what it is."
Still, the Golden Eagles got some bright performances out of its players.
On offense, junior Jeremy Hester led all rushers with 64 yards on 10 carries with touchdown runs of six and 30 yards. Freshman quarterback Anthony Alford had 28 yards on eight rushes and a one-yard rush, while freshman running back Tyre Bracken added 23 yards on eight carries.
Junior quarterback Chris Campbell led the passing corps with a 7-for-11 performance with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He hit Tracy Lampley on a middle screen for 67 yards which was the senior's lone reception of the day, while also tallying a 26-yard scoring strike to junior Justin Sims.
Alford added 5-for-7 for 49 yards, while redshirt freshman Ricky Lloyd added 4-for-7 for 21 yards and a seven-yard TD to Sims.
Sims led all receivers with six catches for 85 yards.
"From the player standpoint, we had a ton of improvement in a lot of areas," said Johnson. "We are executing our running game pretty well and have some guys that made some things happen with the ball in their hands in the running game. There were a few misreads by the quarterbacks but only one, maybe twice, did they not take care of the ball."
On the defensive side, both junior Jacorius Cotton and redshirt freshman Ed Wilkins tallied interceptions. Wilkins' interception off of Campbell was returned 40 yards for a score.
The Golden Eagle defense also got sacks from junior Alan Howze, junior Adam Williams, and redshirt freshman Michael Smith. Williams also recovered a fumble and Cotton forced one.
The team will enjoy its first off day of fall camp on Sunday before returning to practice Monday morning.