HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team got a break from Mother Nature for its third fall camp workout here Thursday afternoon at the Joe P. Park Practice Facility.
Overcast skies during the entire two and a half hour practice helped keep the heat down and the Golden Eagles enjoyed their third straight productive practice.
Third-year coach Larry Fedora praised his defensive line following practice as the unit returns four starters from a season ago, but also wants to see that group continue to improve on its accomplishments from the previous campaign.
"We had 36 sacks on the year last year and I expect more this year," Fedora said. "Those guys are another year older, and I expect them to be the most talented defensive line in the league. We have enough talent there and that will be the strength of our team."
Fedora went on to say the group now features a veteran corps while mixing in some solid younger personnel.
"A couple years ago we had less than 100 reps total experience up front," Fedora added. "Now we've got thousands of reps up front, amongst quite a few of them. Starting inside with Anthony Gray and Terrance Pope, who have been playing a bunch. Those guys have gotten a lot of reps.
" Now you throw in Khyri Thornton and John Henderson and those four are going to be really good inside. And all the guys outside have experience. We brought in Dasman McCullum and Brandon Smith and those guys are showing some really good things in practice. Most of those guys have a lot experience, and the guys we brought in have a lot of talent."
Fedora also expressed his satisfaction about the school's announcement earlier in the day on playing the home-and-home series with the Naval Academy.
"First of all, I was at the Air Force Academy for two years, so I have a background there," Fedora said. "I have the utmost respect for all of those young men at the academies. I think it will be a tremendous experience for both our players and their players, especially when they come to Hattiesburg and we look forward to going up there. It will be an experience that our players have never had before, so it's going to be a good thing."
The Golden Eagles return to the practice field Friday afternoon as they continue to work toward their season opener, Sept. 2, at South Carolina.
Tickets for all 12 games regular season games, as well as home season tickets remain available online at SouthernMiss.com, via the telephone at 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Athletic Ticket Office from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.