Southern Miss

Jay Hopson upbeat about first spring as Southern Miss head coach

 Southern Miss receiver Tyre'oune Holmes has been impressive during the Golden Eagles' spring practices.
TIM ISBELL/SUN HERALD Southern Miss receiver Tyre'oune Holmes has been impressive during the Golden Eagles' spring practices. SUN HERALD

HATTIESBURG - Southern Miss head coach Jay Hopson left the field Wednesday in a good state of mind, convinced that his first spring on the job was a productive one.

"We had a good spring," Hopson said. "It's going to be fun to watch them in the stadium one last time. We had a good spring, got a lot accomplished. There was good retention. We've got to continue to grow. Overall, it was a good spring."

Fans will get a look at how productive the spring was for Hopson and his team at noon on Saturday during the spring game at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

While seniors like quarterback Nick Mullens and defensive end Dylan Bradley are in a good spot headed into the spring game, others look at the scrimmage as one more chance to show they deserve more playing time in the fall.

Redshirt junior quarterback Parker Adamson is among the Golden Eagles who used the hiring of Hopson as a chance at a new start.

A good spring game Saturday could help Adamson show that he can be the No. 2 behind Mullens this season.

"It's a little bit of a fresh start, new offensive coordinator and a new offense," Adam said. "They have a different perspective on all the guys. I'll use that to my advantage anyway I can."

One of the other players who benefited from the hiring of a new staff was redshirt junior receiver Tyre'oune Holmes, who mostly watched from the sideline last season.

Holmes registered just one catch last season, but the Tylertown native could his role significantly increase at the slot receiver position.

"He's really had a good spring," Hopson said. "He's worked hard, had a good offseason. I've been impressed with his work ethic on the practice field. He's got to keep plugging. That's what it's all about. He's had a good spring, but we need a good summer and a good fall."

Redshirt senior Wil Freeman, who missed almost all of the 2015 season with a broken leg, has seen a significant change with the new staff. The defensive lineman is making the adjustment to offensive tackle.

He described his spring as "very interesting" and admitted that he'd never played on offense in high school or any other time.

"It's a very big adjustment," Freeman said. "I've been having a little bit of a rough time picking up the technique and everything else and getting all the plays down. I've been really luck to have offensive linemen around me, good friends around to help me with the transition."

While he may still be scratching his head a little about a mid-spring switch to offense, Freeman was upbeat about the arrival of Hopson as the new head coach.

"For me personally, I knew coach Hopson was a former coordinator," Freeman said. "I've been keeping up with Southern Miss my entire life. The first day he came in and talked about the black and gold and what it meant, I was all in. I think we've all bought in pretty well."