Today for our opposing viewpoints feature we talk Southern Mississippi.
Allan Misner owner and operator of EaglePost.net was generous enough to take a few minutes and kick around a few questions on the Golden Eagles vs. the Jayhawks from the USM perspective.
Eaglepost.net is the leading independent discussion forum for Southern Miss. football and a big thank you to Allan for helping us out here this week.
1. Breakdown what you've seen so far out of the Golden Eagles on the season. Strengths? weaknesses? Any big changes from last year?
Having played a very strong team and a very weak team, it is really hard to gauge how well Southern Miss will do this season. We have a solid offense (great system with the talent to execute it), but are still struggling on defense. The secondary, which was rated 109th last year doesn't look much better. The kicking game was probably our biggest weakness last year. It seems to have improved ever so slightly.
The most significant change is coming in with a talented QB that makes quick decisions. We have a solid receiving corp and the running backs are picking up where Damian Fletcher left off. We have more power and speed in these key positions. However, we did lose four offensive linemen. Despite that, I expect us to be able to put up a lot of points against Kansas.
2. Against South Carolina USM struggled to stop the running attack and specifically appeared to struggle with runs up the middle including the Carolina QB's, is that an area that Kansas can attack? and what would you attribute the SC success too in that game?
If you can find a Southern Miss fan that is happy with our defense, he's only pretending to be a Southern Miss fan. We have lost our trademark Nasty Bunch. The players have the strength and skill, but either the system or the execution are significantly off. Right now, most of us are just hoping that the offense can outscore our opponents.
3. What can Kansas expect from the USM offense in this one? USM would certainly appear to have weapons and options, what area do you see them focusing in on gameplan wise?
Everybody is waiting for Deandre Brown to step up. He's 6'6", 240lbs and can out run most defensive backs. If Kansas doesn't cover him with a safety on top, he'll break one. Since most teams are doubling him, the other receivers are doing very well finding open space for large gains. I expect that to continue.
We have three talented running backs with Floyd, Johnson and Lampley. Each brings an element of size, speed and shiftiness that makes our running game very dynamic. It is common to see two or three of them on the field at the same time.
Against Kansas, I expect Southern Miss to try to stay balanced with their play calling. One, to keep the clock running and keep Kansas defense on the field as long as possible. If the Kansas defense is not well conditioned, the humidity and pace of the game is going to hit them hard.
4. What are your expectations for how this game plays out and a winner?
This should be a game of attrition. Both schools will likely score early and often. If Southern Miss can win the time of possession, and not make any critical mistakes, they win by 7.
5. Last year during the Mangino firing and Kansas coaching search Larry Fedora was a bit of a hot name among Kansas fans. Some say he interviewed, others say he never did...were there any rumblings in Hattiesburg related to Fedora and Kansas or were we just kidding ourselves.
I didn't hear anything about him interviewing, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. Fedora is a good coach, but he is just getting into the head coach role. He has a lot to learn before he's ready for the next level.
Also, he seems to have much higher aspirations, so when he leaves Southern Miss, I believe it will be for a big step. Kansas would have been a good job for him, but I think he'd hold out to build something here in hopes of landing a much bigger school.
That being said, he hasn't done anything that Southern Miss fans would think is special. We're still waiting for him to break out and give us what he promised when he got here.