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Football commences final week of spring practice

April 17, 2018

HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Four days away from the Black and Gold Spring Game presented by Coca-Cola, the Southern Miss football team returned to the practice fields to get the most out of its final outings.

Head coach Jay Hopson spoke with the media afterwards, recapping Friday's scrimmage as well as other notable aspects of camp.

The Black and Gold Spring Game will begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free for all fans. That morning, the football team will also host its annual free youth clinic. Fans are also encouraged to attend the Champions Brunch inside the Giannini Touchdown Terrace (10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.), which will honor John Cox for his 40 years of service at the university. Tickets are $35. Details about all of the weekend events can be found here.

On the overall performance of the scrimmage
"I felt like the defense probably won the day. The first string did some good things and the second had a pretty even battle. We did do some decent things in the redzone offensively with the first, but for the most part Friday it was a defensive day. Our quarterbacks did well and the receivers made some plays, while the defense swarmed the ball well."

On the quarterback position
"We just have a fun quarterback battle. Jack Abraham and Keon Howard are doing a good job and Kwadra Griggs will be back in the mix soon. It's the same routine as we were in last August. We have two or three positions that will be battles through August. It's fun because that's how you see guys get better."

On the linebackers
"That's a strong corps for us. When you look at Jeremy Sangster, Sherrod Ruff, Racheem Boothe and Walden Davis, those are old guys who have played a lot of football. Santrell Latham has had a really good spring, and that's a position with young guys but a senior bunch that plays hard and together."

On what position group he'd like to see the most out of in the spring game
"That's a great question. You always want to see those young guys battling and playing well. You look across the board, and there are several on the offensive line. Guys like Tahj Sykes and Andrew Cole on defense, as well as WyDale Flott and Shannon Showers and guys on the back end, like Tyler Barnes. You just want to see guys play well fundamentally and have a clean scrimmage."

On which player has impressed him the most in terms of drastic improvements/position changes
"Ray Ladner has been really good at tight end. He has a bright future and will be in the mix. That's one guy who's been quiet but has done some really good things. On the back end, Kris Reed has had a good last week. Sykes had a good day today. Ray found us, saying he wanted to walk on and we looked at his body and knew he would be good for us. We gave him that opportunity and he's done a good job. The sky's the limit for him as a football player."

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