Football Fall Camp Feature: Tim Billings
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Tim Billings is the assistant head coach and leader of the safeties at Southern Miss. The 1980 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State has seen more football than anyone else on the Southern Miss coaching staff.
His initial journey took him all throughout the southwest, splitting tenures at high schools in Oklahoma and Texas from 1980-83 that included a head coach role at Prairieville High School in far north Texas in 1981.
"My first three years I was in high school, then I took a GA job at Missouri," Billings said. "While I was there Jim Donnan was the offensive coordinator and Charlie Sadler was the defensive line coach. My first year, we went to the Holiday bowl and Jim and Charlie went to OU and I had previously coached at Norman High. That gave me an opportunity to work at OU and those guys with Coach [Barry] Switzer. He was awesome and taught me a lot of things."
Billings was battle-tested early with what would be a national champion Sooner team in 1985 under one of the most legendary coaches in the history of the game. That vaunted rushing attack that was the centerpiece of those Oklahoma teams goes hand-in-hand with how Billings notices the evolution of the game.
"It used to be a lot of two-back, power game," he said. "Now it's all spread out with the RPO [run/pass option] game and fast pace."
But what about beyond the x's and o's?
"The biggest change is with the players," Billings said. "We never really had them in the summer so two-a-days would acclimate and prepare them. Now they are here all summer and they're already in as good a shape as they will be in all year."
While all the Golden Eagles are more than in shape as the second week of camp has commenced, the conversation begins for how the safety and nickel positions will look for the fall.
"This spring we had a lot of new faces because we lost D'Nerius [Antoine] and [Devonta] Foster and Picasso [Nelson] wasn't there this spring because he had surgery, so we had a lot of new faces," Billings said. "With that, we have a lot of old guys, eight seniors in the secondary, and they have a lot of experience as starters.
"We have a lot of safeties and starters for nickel situations. Picasso does both and Tarvarius had a great spring. Demetrius Market moved from corner to safety, so he's had a lot of safety time. Jomez Applewhite, who we moved to nickel since he had been a corner, has been doing both. We have a lot of new faces but a lot of guys who have been playing some games and got some experience. Overall we have a better defense than we had a year ago and some more speed."
Billings has worked with head coach Jay Hopson at Memphis and Marshall in their past stops. As outside linebackers coach in 2016, the Golden Eagles’ defense limited opponents to under 300 yards of total offense five times. The defense held its opposition to 11 yards or fewer on the ground twice during the year.
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.
Previous Football Fall Camp Features:
July 31 - Julian Allen