Southern Miss Sports Information

Updated news and notes from USM practice

Southern Miss puts on pads for the first time, here are news and notes from day three of practice..

First Day In Pads

The fella's put on the pads for the first time yesterday and the energy as expected was high. The coaching staff set the tone early by starting the day with an inside drill that had three tiers so the defensive line, linebacker and safeties could all be involved in a single rep. Some of the biggest hits were delivered by linebackers Isaiah Spencer RSJR 6-1 225 and Evan Osbourne RSSR 6-4 215.

Osborne has added some nice weight. Redshirting last season may have been the best thing that could have happened to Evan. He is in the mix for significant playing time at the outside linebacker spot. He and Tight End Julian Allen had some nice battles duking it out during the inside drill. Evan has gotten big enough and strong enough to make that battle legit.

Defensive Line Making Strides

During the inside drill or Oklahoma drill, as some like to call it, and I had a chance to watch the defensive tackles work. Draper Riley RSSR. 6-4 310 and Delmond Landry JR. 6-4 310 Stuffed several plays making tackles in the backfield. Demarrio Smith SO. 6-2 275 was also impressive inside on several plays.

This was my first opportunity to watch Walden Davis RSJR 6-0 205 do his thing at linebacker. My question early on was would he able to hold up to the physical nature of his new position. Walden passed with flying colors, as he showed the ability to shed blocks of men larger than himself. He showed his athleticism and quicks navigating through the trash of humanity and would be blockers to lay solid licks on ball carriers. Walden appears to be a natural fit at outside linebacker. Sherrod Ruff could be seen giving Davis pointers and encouragement.

T.J. McGinnis RSFR. 6-2 210 is an imposing presence at safety. I anticipated seeing how this would translate during the inside drill. I was pleased with what I saw, as T.J. had no issue defeating the block of a receiver and putting a serious lick on ball carrier Tez Parks. Being physically imposing at safety is no issue for McGinnis. It will be the mental side of the game at his new position that will dictate how long it takes for this talented athlete to get onto the field.

Both Jeremy Sangster RSJR. 6-0 230 and Racheem Boothe RSFR.6-0 230 had nice moments at middle linebacker yesterday. They both show natural instincts, and have prototype size for their position in the 4-2-5 defense. They can both attack downhill on a ball carrier. Both showed they had the speed to blitz and effect the quarterback. Sangster had a nice pick of a tipped ball, while dropping into pass coverage yesterday. These guys have similar skill sets and size. I could easily seem them being interchangeable at middle linebacker. 1A and 1B is you will.

TE Updates

Both Julien Allen RSSR. 6-3 235 and Jayshawn Washington RSJR 6-2 240 put on a show yesterday with their blocking skills as well as catching the football. They were both favorite targets of Griggs and Howard during scrimmage situations. It is my hope that the tightends are used more in the passing game this season. They could be a real safety blanket for a young, green quarterback. Allen and Washington were open early and ofter yesterday and caught everything that was thrown their way. As a testament to Washington's improved speed, he beat a safety down the seam for a 35 yard touchdown from Griggs during the limited scrimmage period.

The Latest On the QB Battle

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