HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With four-year starter Kalan Reed leaving the Southern Miss Secondary, Coach Hopson relies on local talents to fill the gap.
"Well I think the guys have really played well, I thought today Cornell played really well and Picasso has had a really good spring he has played consistently well," head coach Jay Hopson said.
Cornell Armstrong, Defensive back from Bassfield High, said, "I'm taking on a lot of responsibility, you know with Kalan Reed gone we've got some big shoes to fill, but we're competing every day because we know we have to step up and take on the challenge."
Oak Grove graduate Picasso Nelson Jr. said, "I definitely think we are progressing on the right track and learning the plays and the defense has a lot of things we can do in it so once we learn those things and get better we'll make a lot of plays come season."
Last season, Reed contributed 56 tackles, 19 pass breakups and four interceptions inspiring the Southern Miss D to raise the bar.
"I just want to be a leader in the secondary and win conference, catch interceptions more than I caught last year, I wanna catch 8 this year," Armstrong said.
Nelson said, "My personal goal is to make at least 5 sacks I've always wanted to make a sack and I don't think I have yet so definitely wanna make a sack and a couple of interceptions but more than anything I just want to play well with my teammates."
In a position that demands speed and the ability to read the offense, the best part about this group is their maturity.
"There is a lot of guys making plays and I can tell you they are a smart, old group which is always fun to have," Hopson said. "So I am excited about that group some outstanding football players."
Armstrong said, "We're seeing the changes doing what he wants us to do and getting them down pat and breaking on the ball, breaking passes up and just having fun."