I spoke with Southern Miss senior linebacker Alan Howze for a story that will be running in Sunday's edition of the Sun Herald, and here are some quick takeaways from the interview:
* Howze believes he is seeing a big turnaround for the defense following last year's stunning 0-12 campaign.
"It seems like a redemption for us," Howze said. "It's been exciting. Its' been fun to participate in spring practice because you see the team is serious about what we're doing around. The energy around practice is about us wanting to win."
* Howze doesn't see too many differences in the scheme that new defensive coordinator Dave Duggan is installing compared to the 2011 defense (4-2-5 scheme) that featured Duggan as the co-defensive coordinator.
* Howze was "pumped" to hear that Duggan would return as the team's defensive coordinator after he spent a year on former USM coach Larry Fedora's staff at North Carolina. Duggan taught Howze how to play linebacker after he spent his Ocean Springs High School career at running back.
* Installation of the defense has gone very well this spring, and it's showing up in practices.
* The USM spring game will take place at 1 p.m. on April 20 at Petal High School.
* Thursday's practice was canceled due to bad weather that moved through the Hattiesburg area. The team will hold its regularly scheduled practice on Friday and will also practice Saturday morning.