HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team returned to the practice fields here Wednesday afternoon to continue to ready itself for this weekend's season opener at Mississippi State.
The Golden Eagles continued to put work in on combating a potent MSU offense that produced over 434 yards and 27.7 points per contest a year ago. Second-year Southern Miss coach Todd Monken had complimentary words on the Bulldogs offense following the practice session.
"They do a really good job of putting you in run-pass conflicts and using their quarterback as a runner, which is what Dan (Mullen) has always done," said Monken. "It is hard to defend. (QB Dak Prescott) is a really good player and he has really good players around him."
Southern Miss, though, has worked this week on figuring out ways to get the Bulldogs signal call out of rhythm by trying to put pressure on him.
"When they are uncomfortable, all quarterbacks make mistakes. It is not just him," said Monken of Prescott. "That is everybody. With any team, you try to get them into third down and long yardage situations where they have to throw it and you have a chance to make them uncomfortable. That is easier said than done, but the whole key."
At the end of the day, though, the Golden Eagles have to execute the things that they have been working since last spring against the Bulldogs. Monken knows that his team will have to play hard and smart and not make any mistakes to give themselves the best possible chance to get a victory in a hostile environment this weekend.
Along with a tough MSU squad that Southern Miss will face, the Golden Eagles may also be pitted against Mother Nature as rains are expected during the day on Saturday.
"The first scrimmage we had was in the rain so at least that part we have some preparation," said Monken. "We have done some other preparation in terms of wet balls. It is never the same until you get out there but the weather will be the same for both teams."
The Golden Eagles practice once more on campus, Thursday, before leaving for the game on Friday. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m., on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. It can be seen on the SEC Network and heard on one of the affiliates of the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
Also on Thursday at 5 p.m., the athletics department and the Southern Miss Activities Council (SMAC) are inviting all fans to meet for the Soaring to Starkville Send-Off party.
This event will take place in front of the Duff Athletic Center with fans having an opportunity to greet the Golden Eagle football team as they wrap up their final practice at home. Free pizza will be provided courtesy of SMAC and free drinks will be available thanks to Coca-Cola of Hattiesburg. Fans will be able to take part in an Eagle Walk along with The Pride of Mississippi, Southern Miss cheerleaders and Seymour, as the team makes their way off the practice field.
Fans of all ages are invited and encouraged to attend this event and wish the Golden Eagles well for the beginning of the 2014 football season.
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