Keeping Score

USM's Howze gets look at new position

A position change could be in the works for Southern Miss linebacker Alan Howze, a former Ocean Springs star.

The redshirt senior, who started at mike (strong) linebacker early last season before being sidelined with a turf toe injury, practiced at will (outside) linebacker Tuesday, partly because of the play of Butte (Calif.) Community College transfer Brian Anderson. This is currently just an experiment, but defensive coordinator David Duggan liked what he saw on Tuesday.

“Brian gives us some thump to the middle of our defense,” Duggan said. “Brian is a downhill linebacker. He’s an old-school mike and that’s really good to see. When he hits you, he’s knocking you back, and that’s what’s impressive to me. He’s not that tall (5-foot-10), but he’s 245 pounds and has a low center of gravity, and when he hits you, you’re going backwards.

“Alan has been great all fall camp. We want to play the best three linebackers we can. Alan, having the ability to learn all three (positions), if our next best linebacker is a mike, we can take Alan and move him to will. That’s what Alan does for us. I can’t describe how valuable he is to our program right now. I think it’s a natural fit for him.”

Anderson helped Butte to a 12-0 record and the national championship last season while earning All-American honors.