Coach Jay Wright won an NJCAA coach of the year award last year at Northwest Mississippi. This year, he was brought in by new Southern Miss Head Coach Jay Hopson to coach the offensive line.
The offensive line was a successful unit last season and helped propel the Golden Eagle offense to become one of the nation’s top units. Coach Wright brings a solid background, and is certainly hoping his unit does not miss a beat from last season.
So far this spring, Wright is happy with what he has seen from the offensive line, especially from the more experienced interior linemen.
“We’re at a point where the install is all in, but it’s not polished just yet, and their experience shows through,” Wright said.
“They’re able to make some adjustments that maybe we haven’t covered yet, but it’s been covered at some point in their career. Those guys have a lot of football smarts, and that experience shows through at this point in the season.”
With having some inexperience on the outside of the line, as well as some new players the team will be looking to groom for the future, there is one guy Wright looks at to help lead his unit.
“There’s no doubt Cam Tom is the leader of the offensive line. Anyone that’s been around the program knows that and can see that.” Wright said. “That’s his group, and he’s going to take pride in making the right calls and making sure everyone understands who they’re blocking, what their assignment is, and where their help is coming from. He’s the unquestioned leader of this group.”
Although there is plenty of experience on the interior offensive line, Coach Wright is faced with having to replace both Tackles with the loss of both Rashod Hill and Norman Price. So far, Wright sees plenty of signs that he has players that can step in and fill those rolls.
“We’ve got several goals in spring football and getting that tackle position set is priority number one,” Wright said.
“Right now the frontrunners are [Jacob] Fleming and [Ty] Pollard, and we’ll just have to see what they’ve put up on film. It’s a race we’re monitoring every day. We’re grading those guys on a lot of different metrics to make sure they’re doing everything right, not just pass protection, or run blocking or communication, but all of those things to make sure we continue to raise the bar with those guys.”
So far this spring, Coach Wright seems very confident in his interior line, but also feels confident that the tackle position will be ready to go by the end of spring. There is little question among fans that the tackle position was one of the biggest question marks heading into the spring, and it seems that the coaches see it that way as well.
As the season approaches, it’s clear Coach Wright will be doing everything he can to be sure the inexperienced players on the outside of the line will be just as ready as the experienced ones on the interior. From Coach Wright’s perspective, the hope is his group will not miss a beat from last season, and will help keep the Golden Eagle offense as one of the top units in all of college football.