Ellis Johnson not happy with Southern Miss performance

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - It all starts with the quarterback, but after Tuesday's football practice at Southern Miss , Ellis Johnson apparently has more to worry about than that. The first-year head coach is still yet to find any consistency with his offense.

"Offensively, we can't seem to run two plays in a row without a busted assignment or a missed block," said Johnson following his team's early morning Tuesday practice, "We say we're going to go inside drill everyday for about 20 snaps, and today we turn it back to X's and O's drill.

"We got to get back to toughness on that fundamental."

Tommy West walked off the practice field in a little brighter spirits than did Johnson, noticing a definite improvement from Saturday's scrimmage. Of note, the defense as a whole is beginning to pick up the concepts quicker, and thus is able to play a little faster.

"I think, defensively, we have eliminated a lot of the missed assignments," said the Golden Eagles' first-year defensive coordinator, "We're having fewer and fewer every day. I think we're on track. I think we're doing okay right now."

Johnson agrees, but feels it would be of benefit if the offense could provide a little greater of a challenge.

"Our defense seems to know what their assignment is, and they're playing fast, and with knowledge," said Johnson, "(but they're) getting too many layups. So it's hard to tell where we are."

The quarterback spot made things a little more frustrating on Tuesday. For one, redshirt junior Chris Campbell has yet to take a single snap since the Saturday scrimmage, still recovering from a bruised shoulder.

True freshman Anthony Alford and redshirt-freshman Ricky Lloyd are getting a bulk of the action, but are also still looking to find consistency. "They'll each have about two plays, but sometimes you don't even have a chance to evaluate them because of the busted assignments," Johnson said, "(They) can't get the ball out of their hands, and the location of the ball is not good.

"We got people open, and we can't hit them."

As such, Johnson says he plans on making certain changes to the offense.

"We're going to have to figure out who we are," he said, "We're working on some things, I think, right now that's not our complexion. We're going to have to tweak it and adapt to what we have.

"I don't know where we are in the big picture right now, but we got a long way to go."

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