HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Despite an unseasonably cool first day, the Southern Miss football team began spring practice here Monday afternoon at the Joe P. Park Practice Facility.
The Golden Eagles worked in helmets and shorts for about 2 ½ hours in which the temperatures dipped into the high-40s at the end of practice.
Second-year coach Todd Monken liked the team's effort as the familiarity was much higher than it was at this point last year.
"Obviously, our second year with the same system on both sides of the ball; same special teams coordinator, it is always going to go smoother," said Monken. "I thought our energy, our attitude and our body language was good. I thought our guys were flying around. It was a good start."
Monken also said that he saw improvement from year one to year two.
"You get a lot of things established (in year one). You get your system established as they get to know their coaches and they get to know me a little better," said Monken. "When you start to recruit, guys know what you are looking for; the type of player you are recruiting; the type of guy you want on your team. It is so much easier the second time around.
"It felt like we knew what we were doing and it felt like that the last couple of weeks of the season (last year). We are even one step further ahead because of another offseason. A lot of those guys last year, all of the freshmen and the junior college guys that were with us last year, had never been through an offseason. They are stronger. Those wide outs are stronger. They can carry their speed longer. There is a lot of improvement you can see from your younger guys."
Monken, though, said there was still improvement that needs to be made moving forward as the Golden Eagles continue their 15 practice sessions during the spring. "There are a lot of areas we need to improve on, starting with me," said Monken. "I have to coach better. I need to be more positive. We have to find a way to do it better. I have said it all along, `you have to coach better; you have to play better; you have to recruit better.' That starts with me and our staff."
The Golden Eagles return to the practice fields Wednesday at 3:45 p.m.
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