The USM defense allowed just 324.8 yards per game last season, ranking 15th in the nation. However, numbers can be deceiving.
At one point last season, the Golden Eagles ranked last in the FBS in turnover margin. Also, giving up big plays often crippled Southern Miss during last year's 7-6 campaign.
Forcing more turnovers and eliminating the explosive plays are an emphasis for the Golden Eagle defense as Saturday's season-opener against Kentucky nears.
"Technique, technique, tecnique," said USM junior linebacker Jeremy Sangster. "Coach [Jay Hopson] can't say it enough. Technique is part of the game and once technique comes, execution comes. And that's what we really focus on."
"Most definitely giving up big plays as far as the secondary," said USM senior defensive back Tarvarius Moore. "Last year, we gave up a lot of big plays that really hurt us in certain games. This year, we're really focused on having our eyes on our keys, our right men. Just making sure we don't give up that big play that can cost us a game like it did last season."