HATTIESBURG – The Southern Miss football team held its first practice of fall camp in the mid-morning heat Friday. All involved say the Golden Eagles had a strong summer in the weight room, but it was apparent to first-year head coach Todd Monken that there's plenty of work to do before the Aug. 31 season opener against Texas State.
“I think what was obvious, as hard as our guys worked in the summer, and they did, there's a big difference between running at 6 a.m. over a half-hour, hour period opposed to two hours with the helmet on, having to think, having concentrate," Monken said. "I think you find out there's a big difference between being in shape and being in football shape. We have a long to way to go, but it was a great start.”
One Golden Eagle sitting out practice on Friday was sophomore running back Jalen Richard, who is recovering from an undisclosed knee injury. His return date is uncertain.
Richard's absence puts more pressure on the other backs, including senior Jeremy Hester, to produce in his absence.
“It felt great getting back out there,” Hester said of the practice. “It went well, not too many mental busts from my perspective. I think I had a great day and I think the running back group as a whole had a great day. As a team, I think every thing went well. We had a great practice.”
The Golden Eagles will return to the practice field Saturday morning and take part in the Eagle Fanfare at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Lake Terrace Convention in Hattiesburg.