Southern Miss football on the attack under interim Head Coach Scotty Walden

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In a lot of ways, USM’s season opening loss to South Alabama didn’t make much sense.

The Golden Eagles won the turnover battle two to zero and won the time of possession but never led once in the entire game.

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Perhaps the biggest issue was poor tackling, exhibit A being USA’s 73 yard touchdown on the first possession of the game on what should have been a third down stop.

But the offense had a share in the blame as well, averaging just 2.6 yards per rush and coming away with just 21 points in six trips to the red zone.

Moving from Jay Hopson to Scotty Walden doesn’t necessarily solve those issues overnight, but those are certainly the issues the new interim coach is looking to solve as soon as possible. “Schematically, there might be a few things. But honestly, I think just the attack style is going to be something you’ll see. We’re not going to back down from anybody. We’re going to attack people, and for us, it’s not about yards. It’s about points, and so we’re going to try to put as many points on the board as we possibly can. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas, too. We can’t just sit here and focus on hey, keep talking about the transition and all of that. We’ve got to get better at tackling on defense, we’ve got to get better at converting third downs on offense and we’ve got to get better at running the football. I mean we’ve got to get better at a lot of things.”

Coach Walden has already made one early coaching change since being named the interim, moving Reed Stringer to the tight ends and Tim Billings to the nicklebacks.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.

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