The Southern Miss defense was missing as many injured players as it had all season in the 24-23 loss to Florida International, and it will likely be hobbled again at East Carolina on Saturday.
Senior linebacker Alan Howze was the biggest name missing in the last game, and defensive coordinator Dave Duggan listed Monday a few other names that are uncertain headed into Saturday's contest.
“We're keeping our fingers crossed with Kalan Reed, who is obviously our starting guy at corner,” Duggan said. “Alan Howze is still day to day, questionable with his turf toe. (Freshman defensive tackle) Dylan Bradley (who is dealing with a) concussion, we hope he can get back. We need corners and defensive linemen. With the up tempo offense, we need as many legs and supporting cast as we can get this week. Hopefully, they'll get the opportunity get to back and play.”
The starting defensive lineup has been different each week due to injuries, which USM could not afford with a lack of depth at many positions.
This was the starting lineup for the season opener, and I've made note of players who have lost time to injuries:
LB Jerrion Johnson
LB Alan Howze (missed time, questionable for Saturday)
LB Dylan Reda (missed time)
CB Kalan Reed (questionable for Saturday)
CB Ed Wilkins
DB Emmanuel Johnson (missed time)
DB Debarriaus Miller
DE Jerry McCorvey (out last game)
DE Michael Smith
DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches (out multiple games)
DT Khyri Thornton
You also have to take into account that senior cornerback Deron Wilson is apparently lost due to an injury he suffered during fall camp. Senior safety Jacorius Cotton has also not played this year due to unspecified reasons.