Southern Miss opens preseason football practice

Southern Miss opens preseason football practice

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Jay Hopson sounded every bit the veteran coach following his first official practice of the fall with The University of Southern Mississippi football team.

Hopson, who in January took over the helm of a Football Bowl Subdivision program for the first time, put 103 players through a two-hour, 45-minute session of drills and conditioning Friday morning at the Joe Park Practice Facility.

"Saw some good things out there and saw some things where we need to get better," Hopson said. "Kind of what you'd expect from a first day. We're in the first day of camp. We've got to keep building and getting in shape and doing the things we need to get into game shape. There's no team in America that's in game shape right now, that's the reality of it, so we've just got to keep working."

Hopson said he was pleased for the most part with the team's carryover from spring practice with regards to schemes, calls and plays.

"It was a pretty good day work day, retention-wise," Hopson said.

Senior quarterback Nick Mullens, who was named to the preseason Johnny Unitas watch list Thursday, liked what he saw as well for a first day.

"Overall, I thought it was a great start," Mullens said. "The process of communication, getting plays in and out, subbing, the extra parts of the game, went really smooth. Execution went well. The receivers worked hard all summer. It's pretty cool to see how that work and that chemistry built in the summer as a transition to the fall camp."

The Golden Eagles return to the practice field at 8 a.m. Saturday for another workout in shorts, jerseys and helmets. After an off-day on Sunday, Southern Miss will practice in "spiders" (light pads) and helmets Monday and Tuesday before donning full pads for the first time Wednesday morning.

The first preseason scrimmage is set for Aug. 13, while the first of four, two-a-day practices is set for Aug. 15.

The Golden Eagles open the 2016 season Sept. 3 at Kentucky.