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Football Practice Report: August 11

Aug. 11, 2016

Venue: Joe P. Park Practice Facility
Format: Full Pads
Upcoming: Practice (8 a.m., Friday, Aug. 12)

Report: Southern Miss returned to full pads for the second consecutive day Thursday morning under cloudy skies in a workout that lasted 2 ½ hours. Position battles continue to go on in many different spots along the Golden Eagle two-deep, as the squad prepares itself for the upcoming season and its season opener on Saturday, Sept. 3, at Kentucky.

Head Coach Jay Hopson
On the day as a whole...
"Good day by the offense today. Lots of energy. Nick (Mullens) had a good day and so did the receivers and linemen. All in all, a good offensive day. I thought there was some good competition, and we had some good tempo too. There was coverage, but Nick made some great throws."

On where the deepest battles are...
"There's always a battle up front on the offensive line and it's in the air. Battles are everywhere, but those are the spots where guys are in the hottest spot."

On developing the linemen as the season...
"You always know a little more when you get closer to game week, but you always really want two units that can play. Those are the guys who in those seven-play drives, they're 300 pounds and they gotta fight. So you want to get those two units."



Picasso Nelson, Jr., Defensive Back
On the new defense...
"I like it a lot. It gives us the ability to make a lot of plays and to have the cover guys on the field and also the guys who fill the gap. I like it a lot."

On if he thinks this defense is one of this teams' strengths...
"Yeah, because a lot of us have played last year and the year before that. We're very experienced. More than anything we just have to stack our days, practice good today, tomorrow, the next day and whenever we have a bad day; we just need to get better and have short-term memory and not let the last play bring us down."

On dose this position play to your strengths...
"It's definitely the perfect position for me. I just have to get better each and every day so when it comes to the season I can make a lot of plays for my team."

Cornell Armstrong, Defensive Back
Talk a little bit about camp so far and how the day went for you...
"It's going pretty good, just taking it one day at a time, just trying to execute and play better ball. Today, I just had to pick it up a little more, bring a little more energy. The whole defense does. We let the offense have a little more momentum than we did and we just have to pick that up."

On the summer workouts and working out with coach Woodfin...
"It's going good. Just basically trying to get stronger and faster. He's making sure we do rehab and stay in shape and keep our bodies healthy."

On replacing Kalan Reed, what's that like on and off the field...
"It just falls on all the DBs. We know we just have to pick it up. Kalan was a great corner, very locked down and physical. We just know we have to step it up and play like him."

On playing for Coach Dan Disch...
"It's going pretty good so far. Coach Disch is a great guy. He looks out for all of us."

On the competition level today...
"That's every day. Everyone wants to win that one-on-one battle. When the play comes your way, you have to make it."

Xavier Thigpen, Defensive Line
On how camp is going for him...
"Camp is going really well for me. Everyday I try to get better and better. [I] try to stay physical, play low pads, so everyday is going well."

On replacing players from last year...
"We lost a couple of guys, so that means the little young guys have to step up and fill in those big shoes from guys like Michael Smith and Andrew Bolton. Our inside guys have to step up and play big this year."

On what he's been working on personally...
"Playing the run better. I like to pass rush a lot so I need to learn how to play all around the defense, as in run block, and getting better at pass rushing too."

On the excitement heading into the scrimmage on Saturday...
"A lot of excitement. It'll show that our defense can stand. The first scrimmage is always one of the keys for the fall camp because it shows where you're at. The second scrimmage is just to show who's going to play."

Tickets: Season tickets for the 2016 Southern Miss home season can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, or by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-844-TICK (8425) as well as visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Center on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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