Aug. 18, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team worked through its second full scrimmage of fall practice here Saturday morning at Carlisle-Faulkner Field.
The Golden Eagles went early in the day to beat the expected rain showers that were planned for the area and were able to get in 111 plays and first-year coach Ellis Johnson liked the improvement that he has seen with his squad.
"We are much, much better as a football team now, than we were in the spring and it has really accelerated over the last five to six days," said Johnson. "One reason for that is we have improved offensively, which is helping our defense."
Johnson was especially pleased with the first few series, despite the fact that he thought as the scrimmage progressed the team wasted some plays as they got tired.
"It just looked a lot better, especially the first three or four series," said Johnson. "There was a lot more contact, collision, effort to the ball, execution in the passing game, and just some things that I thought we looked like a better football team than we were."
Redshirt junior quarterback Chris Campbell got off to hot start offensively as he converted five of his first six passes for 74 yards, including a nice swing pass to junior Francisco Llanos for a 29-yard scoring strike. Campbell finished the day at 7-for-14 with 81 yards and a pair of interceptions.
Redshirt freshman Ricky Lloyd added 10-of-15 passing for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go along with one interception. Lloyd connected with freshman D.J. Thompson for 20 yards, while hitting fellow freshman Dimitri Smith from eight yards. Freshman Anthony Alford contributed with 4-of-13 passing for 38 yards, while he collected 36 rushing yards on nine carries which including a one-yard score.
Llanos ended the scrimmage with four catches for 54 yards, while Thompson caught three passes for 55 yards. Junior Dominique Sullivan caught two balls for 49 yards and junior Justin Sims added 28 yards on four catches.
In the rushing game, freshman Jalen Richard notched a scrimmage-high 37 yards on 10 rushes, while senior Desmond Johnson added 30 yards on seven carries and freshman Tyre Bracken added 17 yards on six attempts with touchdown runs of 11- and 1-yards.
Senior Khalid Wilson led the defensive effort with a sack and a tackle for loss, while sophomore Justin Penn, senior Clifford Johnson and freshman Antonio Thomas all notched interceptions.
Freshman Jerry McCorvey added a sack and junior Jerrion Johnson posted two pass breakups.
The Golden Eagles, which are now two weeks away from its season opener at Nebraska, Sept. 1, will take Sunday off before returning to practice fields Monday morning.