Looking at the Southern Miss Golden Eagles roster, I see a couple familiar names in the coaching staff. Golden Eagles Head Coach Larry Fedora (that is a really fun name to say, it sounds like the absolutely coolest man alive would have that name) and Defensive Coordinator Dan Disch (a much less interesting name) were both assistants under Ron Zook at Illinois.
As an Illini, I have to ask what it feels like to escape from under the tremendous shadow cast by the Zooker coaching greatness. I mean since Zook is our generation’s Bear Bryant, Amos Alonzo Stagg, Knute Rockne and Bob Zuppke all rolled into one, (you’ve caught on to the sarcasm by now right?) it must have been easy for these two men to bask in the glory during their days in Champaign.
2010 was: consistent and successful, but not enough. They keep winning and going to bowl games, but haven’t won a league title since 2005. Larry Fedora’s team finished 81st in the nation in scoring defense and 99th in pass defense. They were 13th in run defense.
BMOCs: QB Austin Davis, who’s broken most of Brett Favre’s school passing records, and will break the rest this year. He can scott too, and his abilities work well within the spread. RB Kendrick Hardy, CB Deron Wilson, the best player in a terrible secondary which must coexist in a very pass-happy league. PK Daniel Hrapmann could win the Lou Groza award.
2011 will be fruitful if: Disch’s new 4-2-5 scheme takes hold and the players buy in. The Eagles gave up 56 points in their regular season finale to Tulsa, and 30+ in five of their last six in 2010. So nothing short of a dramatic improvement is required here.
2011 will be awful if: they fail to generate a pass rush, and the back 7 can’t cover to save their lives. I like the Disch hire, so I think they’ll be better. And we know the offense will be fine.
Bottom Line: They should have enough to compete with UCF for the C-USA East title and be one of the most exciting offenses in college football. The Nov. 12th meeting between the two will be one to circle on your calendar.
UCF Rankings: #55 Athlon, #45 Lindy’s, #31 Phil Steele
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