Another day in July, another Magnolia State team in the Media Day spotlight. Southern Miss was in Texas on Wednesday for day 1 of the Conference USA Kickoff. Head coach Jay Hopson, running back Ito Smith, and cornerback Cornell Armstrong were in Irving to represent the Golden Eagles.
Southern Miss was picked to finish 3rd in the C-USA West Division. The black and gold like being under the radar.
"We actually finished in the top 25 in total offense and total defense in America," Hopson said. "It's very seldom you have both sides of the ball finishing in the top 25 in the country. But I think we led the country in turnovers, we have got to eliminate that."
Smith headlines a stout USM offense. The senior is on the Maxwell Award watch list and named to the Preseason All-CUSA Team. "When I was younger, the guys that were seniors always told us that it was going to fly by. Now I'm finally here, just been working as hard as I can, so I won't have any regrets at the end of the season."
The process continues on the other side of the ball for the Nasty Bunch.
"We're younger, but we're faster," Hopson said. "You look at some of the guys inside we can really run at linebacker. And our safeties have really good speed. So we're youthful, but there is some talent there."
Bassfield native Cornell Armstrong enters his senior season in Hattiesburg. He feels there's a simple goal for the defense to improve on 2016. "We just gotta go out there and eliminate the big play. Coach Hop coaches that a lot. After the season we watched film on the big plays that we gave up. We got some ballers coming up, it's always the next man up. We got some young guys that are ready to play ball and step up."
Southern Miss football visits Jackson on Thursday. The All-Star Party kicks off at 5:30pm at the Mississippi Trademart.
The Golden Eagles kick off the season September 2nd against Kentucky.
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