The Southern Miss football team wrapped up its first spring practice under new head coach Jay Hopson on Saturday and all appeared to go smoothly in the early transition to the new staff.
How successful the team will be in 2016 will be decided by what happens in the summer and fall, but there were some things worth noting leaving the spring game:
1. New backup QB: Itawamba CC transfer Kwadra Griggs has an edge on serving as the No. 2 quarterback behind senior Nick Mullens. Griggs has a good arm and brings athleticism to the position. Redshirt senior Parker Adamson will have a chance to take the No. 2 spot in the fall, but Griggs has a chance to make an impact if offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson wants to create a package for him.
2. New RB option: Redshirt freshman running back Patrick Brooks was the most productive player on offense for USM Saturday. He ran 13 times for 79 yards and appears set to make an impact in 2016. Junior Ito Smith is the unquestioned No. 1, but Brooks has a bright future. If redshirt sophomore Tez Parks and redshirt junior George Payne are fully healthy for the season opener, the Eagles may have the deepest backfield in Conference USA.
3. New tackles: It appears as if Ty Pollard and Jacob Fleming have the edge at the two offensive tackle spots headed into the summer. Pollard, a redshirt freshman, worked at right tackle and Fleming, a senior, held up at left tackle. If those two men play well this season, USM will win a lot of football games.
4. On the rise: Redshirt sophomore Korey Robertson again looked strong at receiver in the spring game. It's easy to see Robertson putting up big numbers in 2016 after showing great potential a year ago.
5. Position switch: Senior Dylan Bradley has moved inside to defensive tackle from defensive end. He was strong at the end, but could create more havoc as an athletic defensive tackle.