Sam Gregg pushing USM offensive line to play more physical

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 11:37 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s no secret Southern Miss struggled up front last season with defenders constantly in the backfield, making life tough on the USM quarterbacks.

Coach Will Hall brought in an old friend from Amory and a heck of a football coach – Sam Gregg – to shore up the offensive line.

“We thought we needed to play harder,” Hall said. “That’s the first thing Sam told ‘em from the day we got here is hey guys, you may think you play hard but you don’t. And that’s got to change. That was opening meeting, first sentence out of his mouth.”

Gregg did not mince words.

He wanted to see more physicality, effort and sound football from the Golden Eagles.

“We were just real nonchalant about a few things that I don’t think you can be nonchalant about at our position,” said Gregg, who came to Southern Miss after three seasons at Liberty. “I challenged them really hard to push. If you want something different, you have to do something different. And to really strain and to scratch and to claw and really try to put an importance on winning.”

“Coach Gregg, he’s a no nonsense type of guy,” said USM junior center Briason Mays. “He doesn’t run from the truth, he runs toward it. When he first got here he told us hey guys, we weren’t very tough, we weren’t very physical and we just didn’t play very good. So there’s two things you can do, you can either take that and learn from it or you can run away from it. And I feel like we had a lot of guys that took that to heart and I feel like we’ve gotten a lot better because of that.”

Mays has been an important voice for the Golden Eagles, starting six games last year after transferring from West Virginia.

He and the rest of the guys up front are eager to put their hard work to the test against Liberty on Saturday at 6 p.m.

“We’ve been hitting these same guys for about nine months now,” Mays said. “I’m about ready to hit somebody else, honestly. But I feel like we’re ready to go. We got a lot of guys that are hungry, a lot of new guys that have something to prove – obviously O-line’s got something to prove. It’s going to come down to who wants it more and turnovers.”

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