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Fall Football Practice Opens Wednesday Morning

July 26, 2017

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The first official step toward the 2017 football season was taken Wednesday morning for Southern Miss as Jay Hopson's squad utilized an almost three-hour workout in Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

The Golden Eagles went through the first workout in helmets and shorts and the second-year coach said while it is still early, he liked what he saw from his group's first practice.

"We had good intensity and I was pleased with that," said Hopson. "I was pleased with the effort today. Naturally it's the first day of summer, so you see a lot things we have to correct."

Hopson went on to say that the Golden Eagles effort was the results of the team's off-season workout program.

"We were in good shape," said Hopson of the day's practice. "It's summer so you got to keep building once you put the pads on."

The biggest question heading into fall camp is the quarterback battle between redshirt junior Kwadra Griggs (Greenwood, Miss.) and sophomore Keon Howard (Laurel, Miss.).

"It's a battle," said Hopson. "When you watch, it's easy to see that it's a battle. They both complement each other really well, because they're both able to do a lot of things. I see it going all the way up to the wire. We'll evaluate it and if it's a back and forth, they'll both play. The good thing is we're deeper at that position."

The quarterbacks will play behind a young offensive line that features just two starters back from a year ago, including redshirt senior offensive guard Devin Farrior (Waynesboro, Miss.) and sophomore offensive tackle Ty Pollard (Hattiesburg, Miss.).

The Golden Eagles will need that push from the offensive line if they again want to reach the 6,000-yard total offensive yard mark again this season. Southern Miss ended with 6,146 a year ago which ranked tied for No. 21 nationally last year in the FBS.

"We have a young offensive line upfront and a young quarterback," said Hopson. "We've got some experience at running back and receiver, that's kind of who we are this year, but I really like the guys up there. We've got some athletes that are tough and physical. Certainly this is a big month for those guys. For some of those guys it'll be their first snap of college football. Just got to keep working that group and blending that in."

The Golden Eagles continue fall camp with meetings on Thursday, before returning to the practice field on Friday.

Season tickets, flex plans, and group tickets for the 2017 Golden Eagle home season are still available and can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, weekdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Discounts are available for Southern Miss faculty and staff, senior citizens, military personnel, and recent Southern Miss graduates.  The Golden Eagles open the 2017 season at home on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 3 p.m. against SEC opponent Kentucky.

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