HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Though Saturday will be just their 10th meeting on the football field, Southern Miss and Troy share a lot in common.
Consider: USM’s athletic director Jeremy McClain is just five months removed from holding the same position at Troy, where he hired Trojans head football coach Chip Lindsey in January.
Lindsey, who served as the Golden Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 2014-15, spoke with media on Monday about it will be like to have McClain back in Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Ala., this weekend.
“Jeremy, he doesn’t play [football] so that’s a good thing,” Lindsey joked. “If he was playing baseball, I’d be worried about him. I’m thankful for the opportunity he gave me to come back here. He’s a great person, great guy.”
McClain’s replacement, Brent Jones, had been at USM as associate athletic director for external affairs, before joining the Troy staff in 2017. When McClain left for USM, Jones was hired as Troy’s 10th athletic director.
Both teams are eager to renew the non-conference series that Southern Miss leads 7-2. Not only does the matchup make sense in terms of proximity, but the Conference USA and Sun Belt programs hope it prepares them for their respective conference schedules.
“I think Chip’s an excellent football coach and he does a great job offensively,” said USM head coach Jay Hopson. “He’s going to keep you balanced and defensively we’ve got to have a great day, and offensively too.”
“I got a ton of respect for their program,” Lindsey said. “Very similar to our program, a lot of great tradition. I got a lot of respect for coach Hopson and what he does. Really good defensive coach, everywhere he’s been they’ve been good on defense.”
The Golden Eagles (1-1) visit Troy (1-0) on Saturday at 5 p.m.