Southern Miss football players reported for fall camp Thursday and kicked off practices early Friday morning. Over 100 players participated in the first of 17 scheduled practices leading into the season opener on Sept. 1 against Jackson State.
Third-year coach Jay Hopson says he was not overwhelmingly pleased with their first day of work.
“I thought we had some good fundamental work. But I really wasn’t pleased with…I didn’t think we finished the practice real well,” Hopson told reporters. “I think we gotta pick up our intensity. As coaches and players, we need a better day tomorrow.”
The quarterback battle remains the top storyline for Southern Miss, and it figures to rage on throughout camp and maybe into the season. With Keon Howard’s recent transfer to Tulane, senior Kwadra Griggs and sophomore transfer Jack Abraham likely stand alone as heavy contenders for the job.
Griggs started seven games for Southern Miss last season, throwing for 1879 yards and 16 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Abraham quarterbacked Northwest Mississippi Community College to an 8-3 record and the second round of the MACJC playoffs, passing for 2949 yards and 23 touchdowns.
Redshirt freshman Marcelo Rodriguez and true freshman Tate Whatley were two other standouts from Friday’s practice, according to Hopson.
“I think Kwadra was looking good today. I thought he made a few good throws and so did Jack,” Hopson said. “Tate, he delivered the ball well. Marcelo made a few good throws. We just gotta keep battling there. That’s going to be that position we keep battling it out at every day and get through a couple of scrimmages and see who delivers.
“I think we’re talented at that position. It’s going to be a fun battle to watch.”
The Golden Eagles will open the 2018 season at home on Saturday, Sept. 1 against Jackson State. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 pm.