Gustav Not Slowing Down Southern Miss

Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora talks about getting ready for Saturday's game against Auburn even with Hurricane Gustav bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

Hattiesburg, Miss.--Coming off an impressive 51-21 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are obviously riding high heading into this week's contest with the Auburn Tigers. Coach Larry Fedora said through one week he's pleased with how his team performed on the field.

"Overall after looking at the game film and evaluating it, we still feel the guys played with great effort Saturday night. I am very proud of their attention to the details, we had minimal missed assignments and got after it pretty good. We still have a lot of room for improvement and need to get much better."

Rushing for an incredible 427 yards Saturday including a career-high 222 and two touchdowns on just 21 carries for junior preseason All-American Damion Fletcher, the focus this week for Auburn will be on stopping an imposing Southern Miss spread attack in its first season under Fedora. While Fletcher gets much of the credit, Fedora said in week one much of the credit goes to his offensive line.

"I thought they played pretty good for the first game, I do not think it will be by the far the best game they will play this year," Fedora said. "Their tempo was good and they held up pretty well after playing as many snaps as we did. I thought overall they got on the people they were supposed to get to."

Southern Miss' spread offense is also a no-huddle attack, something that could hurt them this week playing in front of a large crowd at Auburn. Fedora said because it's the first time on the road in the new offense things will be a little different for his team.

"Traditionally it is one or the loudest stadiums in the country so we will have to prepare with some noise during practice this week," Fedora said. "We will also have to do a good job with out snap counts and the way we handle things. It will take some extra concentration on everyone's part."

Saturday morning's 11:30 kickoff on Raycom Sports will be a battle of the spread offensive attacks with Fedora's version going up against Tony Franklin's version for Auburn. Fedora said he's very familiar with Franklin and he's looking forward to seeing how the two teams match up on Saturday.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he does," Fedora said. "He has proven to have a very good offensive mind wherever he has been and I am sure he will continue that at Auburn. Defensively we will have our work cut out for us because he does such a great job. He gets into the tempos and spreads it out a lot just like we do, it will be interesting to see what the differences are."

Maybe the biggest question for Southern Miss this week isn't about Saturday's game, but about Hurricane Gustav and what impact that will have on the preparations this week. Fedora said so far things haven't been impacted that much on the field but his team is obviously watching things closely with many players on team having family members in he direct path of the storm. He said that's something they'll continue to monitor into the week.

"We practiced last night in the rain which is nothing out of the ordinary for us, so the guys were fine," Fedora said. "We have a plan for whatever can happen, but do not anticipate it being that bad in our area. I think most of their families have been taken care of and everyone can just get ready for Auburn.

"We are sympathetic to their situation, this is a very critical deal," he added. "We are concerned for them and their families. There number one thing is they have to be concerned with their families. It is tough they have to be worried about their families and at the same time focus on a game."

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