Southern Miss Football held its first practice of fall camp Aug. 6 as the team began preparations for the upcoming season.
The practice comes with just a month remaining until the Golden Eagles begin its first season under the leadership of Head Coach Will Hall.
After more than 16 years of coaching experience, Hall noted the milestone of his first fall practice as head coach of a Division One team.
“It felt as advertised,” Hall said. “I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life to be a D-1 head coach and to do it at a place with such a rich and storied tradition that means so much to me and my family.”
Hall sees the two-week period of practice as an opportunity for the team to compete with each other.
“We want to really compete and put our schemes in all situations,” Hall said. “We’ve got about seven installs that we’ll do two times over a 14-day period and then we’ll reassess when school’s starting; at that point, we’re going to start shifting gears and getting ready for South Alabama.”
For the first practice, the team worked in individual and team drills, with a focus on low red-zone situations.
Second-year running back Frank Gore Jr. said he felt good about how the team fared in the first practice.
“We were locked in for the most part and didn’t make too many mistakes for the first day,” Gore said. “We did very well.”
Hall said that without watching tape, he saw both “a lot” of good and bad from the team’s first practice, but credited his staff and players for coming in shape after a productive offseason.
“I thought we were in really good shape for the first day, credit to Coach Lance Ancar and to our kids for being here all summer,” Hall said.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Trey Lowe III impressed on the first day, throwing on target and looking confident throughout drills. Lowe, the favorite to start at quarterback, spent most of his day under center, contrary to the typical shotgun stance in many college teams.
“We did a lot of stuff that he’s not accustomed to getting under the center and running the option,” Hall said. “He’s never really done that so it’s a little different to him. I thought he had a few mistakes he’d like to fix, but overall, he had a positive day.”
Lowe said he feels healthy and prepared for his opportunity this season after getting a taste of the starting role last year.
The defense worked on mostly contactless drills as the Golden Eagles wore padded helmets and no pads to practice; the first two practices will be conducted with no pads on, following the NCAA’s guidelines on preseason practice.
“With the big boys, it’s kind of hard when you don’t have pads but once we bring them out, they get to start having more fun,” Hall said.
Hall delivered the news that senior linebacker Racheem Boothe, who returned to the team after opting out of the 2020 season, suffered a season-ending injury to his leg during the offseason.
Hall said that Boothe will remain with the team as a student coach for the season.
“He has an unbelievable attitude…We know we’ve got to take the circumstances we’re given and make the most of them, ” Hall said. “This is a terrible circumstance for him and all he’s done is use it to lift others around him.”
The Golden Eagles’ fall camp will run through Aug. 21 before classes begin on campus.