April 4, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - A cool, overcast afternoon was the backdrop for the Southern Miss football team as they went through their eighth spring practice here Thursday at the Joe Park Practice Facility.
The Golden Eagles got in their final practice, held in shoulder pads and shorts, before the team's first scrimmage Friday at Petal High School.
With almost three weeks under their belts, the Golden Eagles continue to learn both the offense and defense and one thing on their learning curve has been the installation of it no-huddle offense, something that first-year head coach Todd Monken says is a tough thing to get down and affects both sides of the football during practice.
"It's hard enough to get alignment and assignment down when you're a huddle team and you have time to process," said Monken. "So, right now (as a no-huddle team), it's just controlled chaos. When you're installing, and it's new, and it's no-huddle, you have to think on the run and you get tired. That's hard and that's what we're trying to do, get better at that."
Part of the Golden Eagles' routine is to get quicker and to just play the game without thinking, especially when a first-year staff is evaluating players for next fall.
"It's tough to assess a player's physical ability because like anybody, when you're thinking and processing, you're not playing fast," said Monken. "So, that's hard to do right now. You see flashes but then you see guys playing slow because they are thinking or tired mentally. All you can for is that your players give you everything they've got. And they are. Our players are all in from an energy standpoint. I can say that based on their body language because when they come out here, they are giving us everything they've got."
As the team continues to learn under the new staff, Monken did say that he felt like this team was talented.
"The reality is, we have good players here," said Monken. "We have good players. We have enough to win. We do. Now, are there spots that are thinner than others? Yes. But that's everywhere. We're not the only place thin in certain spots, trying to find guys who can play, and develop them.
"That's what we're paid to do. We have good kids that are working hard. That's our job, to find out what they can do and develop it and that's really it."
Southern Miss will go through their first organized scrimmage of the spring tomorrow at Petal High School, set to begin at 4:50 p.m.. Practices are open to the public but require a valid ID to gain access. Phones, cameras and notepads are prohibited during the session.
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