Obviously, the big news is the search for the new head football coach at Southern Miss. The search continues today with interviews being held in New Orleans. The search committee is doing their job as very little info is leaking out about the search and interviews.
We have learned today that the committee will interview Jason Simpson and Willie Fritz. They have also interviewed Neal Brown and several others earlier in the week. Here is the top 5 as we see it at this point.
1. Blake Anderson- Anderson moves back to the top with Coach Fedora turning down the opportunity at Tennessee. Anderson was waiting out that decision and now the question turns to if he will be able to get the money he wants for him and his assistants, as well as if he can put together the staff he wants at Southern Miss. Look for more movement to come out of Anderson's camp over the next day or so.
2. Neal Brown- The question now is Will Brown become the leader for the job at Texas Tech? Also will the Eagles be battling Louisiana Tech and Arkansas State for similar candidates such as Brown?
3. Willie Fritz- The Eagles caught a glimpse of Fritz as they watched Sam Houston State's multiple offense and sound defense take care of Montana State and continue on in the playoffs. There is no doubt of his ability to coach, the question is will he be willing to move ahead and take the Southern miss job?
4. Jason Simpson- Southern Miss is eager to hear from former alum Simpson, who it is reported really wants the job. Simpson has had success turning around a program at UT-Martin that hadn't seen success until his arrival.
5. Curt Cignetti- Cignettit is an intriguing candidate who comes, similar to Fritz, with a long line of success. He's known for turning around programs. Would he be willing to come south to Hattiesburg?
General Hammond has announced they would like to name a new head coach by middle of next week. Stay tuned as things will really start to heat up over the next day or so as the committee makes its decision.
-In some good news, Jamie Collins was named to first team All Conference-USA. He was a bright spot to a pretty dismal season for the Eagle defense. Collins is now preparing for NFL work-outs and the NFL draft.
-Corey Acosta and Brandon Francesoni were named to the first team all-Academic team of C-USA.
-Anthony Alford has requested his transfer to Ole Miss.
-Justin Burdette also likely will transfer, as he requested at the end of the season.
Southern Miss had its first two losses of the season as it fell at New Mexico State and Arizona. Against New Mexico State, the Eagles were not able to get it going and fell behind early. A late rally was not enough as the Eagles never were a threat.
Against all odds, they proved the grit, determination, and toughness that characterizes this team as they bounced back to lead the #8 Arizona Wildcats most of the game before falling at the end. In a hostile environment, the Eagles battled one of the best teams in the country from start to finish, leading at halftime and well into the 2nd half.
Southern Miss proved with that game that they are capable of competing against anyone in the country. The match-up zone caused even the Wildcats trouble, and they outrebounded the much taller opponent through will and what coaches call "want-to."
Both of these games were without their leading scorer, Dwayne Davis, who is listed as questionable tonight against Louisiana Tech.
One thing's for sure, Coach Tyndall has his players playing hard and believing. They have meshed together quickly for a group that is the most inexperienced in all of college basketball. These tough road games will only serve them well down the road in conference play after Christmas.
Playing truly as a team, Southern Miss has been led by Dwayne Davis at 15 points per game, Jonathan Mills at 10, Jerrold Brooks at 9, Michael Craig at 8, and Norville Carey and Neil Watson at 6 points per game. With Watson and Jenkins still returning to form, the Eagles are poised for a nice run at the conference in what was formally billed as a rebuilding season.
Things are on the upswing for the women's basketball team.
The Lady Eagles were on a 4 game win streak before falling to Arkansas Little Rock. The big news is the late last second win over in-state rival Mississippi State. The Lady Eagles look to continue the run tomorrow afternoon against Louisiana Monroe.
Notably, a majority of their scoring has come from true freshman Jerontay Clemons. She is 2nd on the team in scoring at 14 points per game behind senior Taneka Carey. Clemons highlights a wave of talent for the Eagles who just had one of their better early signing periods landing some top talent in and out of state.
Lady Eagle basketball is certainly on the upswing.
Speaking of swings, there has been some signs of life around Pete Taylor Park even in December. Former ace pitcher was throwing some BP to the hitters, who will now call Todd McInnis "Coach." Coach Berry announced the move to bring back McInnis who will be in charge of camps, will help Coach Fed coach the pitchers, and will also Coach first for the Eagles.
As they continue to work out and prepare for next season, Southern Miss knows they have something special brewing. The players are continuing to lift weights, hit, and the pitchers are doing some long toss as they head toward the start of spring practice.
The Eagles came out of the fall healthy, as only Connor Barron will be looking to bounce back from a nagging injury. He is expected to be 100% by the start of the spring.
Until the Eagles name a head coach, things will be pretty slow recruiting wise. There is a large amount of prospects expected on campus the 14th, who should be able to meet the new staff.
The big name coming on board is Seattle Prep star Tere Calloway. Calloway will join good friend and former Eagle commit James Cox to headline the group. Joining them will be Devin Farrior and a handful of talented JuCo prospects.
Calloway is excited about the opportunity to meet the new coach and perhaps be a part of the new era in Southern Miss football.
Southern Miss is still trying to land some immediate help from the JuCo ranks, targeting specifically LB and WR.
The most recent offers have been to a WR and S from Huntington Beach, CA's JuCo program named Golden West CC.
Stay tuned, recruiting is about to really heat up.