Southern Miss

USM Beach Bash notes: Bridgford has arrived, etc.

Southern Miss football coach Todd Monken and new athletic director Bill McGillis spoke at the Gulf Coast Beach Bash Friday night at the D'Iberville Civic Center, and here are some takeaways from the event:

* Approximately 400 people showed up for the Beach Bash, and I was told by one USM official that it was likely among the largest crowds the event has attracted.

* Monken said that California transfer quarterback Allan Bridgford arrived at USM on Thursday and has already begun preparation, voluntarily coming in to watch film.

* I'll have a Sunday column after speaking with Monken and McGillis about the prospect of the power conference splitting away for a 'Division 4.'

* Monken said it was absolutely critical for USM to have at least six home games each season, and he said Friday that the schedule is on pace for six home games in 2014.

* McGillis had an eventful trip to D'Iberville on Friday. He at first had a flight set to travel from Tampa to Gulfport, but something went awry. He instead had to use a different airline to travel to New Orleans and make the drive over.

* Both senior linebacker Alan Howze and senior receiver Dominique Sullivan spoke in glowing terms of new strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith.

"I'm in the best shape of my life," Howze said.

* Read Saturday's Sun Herald to catch up on what all happened Friday night in D'Iberville.