Turnovers an emphasis for USM football

Turnovers an emphasis for USM football

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Turnovers have been an emphasis among the Southern Miss football team throughout spring, summer and now the fall.

Head coach Jay Hopson would like the USM defense to force more turnovers and the offense to commit less.

At one point last season, the Golden Eagles ranked last in the FBS in turnover margin. Only four teams in the nation had more giveaways than USM's 32 in 2016.

In Saturday's scrimmage, the Southern Miss defense forced six turnovers - a welcome sign for defensive coordinator Tony Pecoraro but an aggravation for offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.

"I wouldn't say [Saturday] was well be either [quarterback Keon Howard or Kwadra Griggs], just judging," Dawson said. I got to watch the film and see but you can't turn the ball over and win games. You ain't beating anybody like that. We've gotten better. We've had good days. [Saturday] we made some plays but, overall, we just can't turn the ball over. So, that's probably the most frustrating thing."

"We call 'em take-backs because we feel like the ball is ours," said USM senior defensive back Tarvarius Moore. "Just because they have it doesn't mean we can't take it. We definitely have a big emphasis on take-backs."

"Coach [Pecoraro] of course, in practice if we don't get three turnovers, we're running three gasers basically," said USM junior linebacker Jeremy Sangster. "So every time we practice, we try to get more than three turnovers or right at three turnovers."