College Football Preview: The 2015 Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Southern Miss Golden Eagles Preview
2014 Record: 3-9
The Todd Monken Era enters it’s third season at Southern Mississippi with the most experienced team he’s had.
Overview: There is not much to say that we already know about the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in that they were the best mid major program in the land a few short years ago before falling off the map and going 4-32 over the past three years.
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Offense: Southern Miss averaged just 19 points in 2014 despite a respectable year from quarterback Nick Mullens who threw for 2,470 yards on just under 60%. The junior is expected to battle TCU four star transfer Tyler Matthews for the starting job. With Tyre’oune Holmes returning from a 2013 injury the receiving core will have plenty of targets with Casey Martin, Michael Thomas and Marquise Ricard back. Ito Smith (136-536) will combine with George Payne and Jalen Richard on the ground behind an offensive line that boasts eight players with at least two starts.
Defense: The Golden Eagles allowed 36 points per game a year ago and the immediate concern is improving on those numbers but the top three lineman are gone with five returning that saw time including four, three star recruits. The linebacker position is a question mark as the unit did not generate a pass rush and were not very active otherwise for a lack of a better word. The secondary get eight of their top ten back and should be the best unit on the defensive side of the ball with corners Kalan Reed and Picasso Nelson Jr. combining for four interceptions and 16 passes defended.
Special Teams: Punter Tyler Sarrazin doesn’t have a big leg with a 39.5 yard average on 66 boots while the Golden Eagles lose PK Corey Acosta. Michael Thomas is back at kick returner with 24 yards on 26 tries with a TD while Casey Martin averaged around nine yards on 15 punt returns.
Outlook: Southern Mississippi showed improvement a season ago and I think they have enough to move ahead once again in 2015. I’m not talking about challenging in the CUSA but another win would be a welcome sight or just improved numbers across the board.