Southern Miss Opens Fall Camp with Championship Expectations

The Golden Eagles aren't selling themselves short in Jay Hopson's first season at the helm.

The following is an official press release courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics.

Southern Miss Football Practice Report: Friday, Aug. 5

Venue: Joe P. Park Practice Facility
Format: Shorts
Upcoming: Practice (8 a.m., shorts)

Report: Southern Miss opened fall camp Friday morning at the Joe P. Park Practice Facility on the Golden Eagle campus in shorts and helmets. Sunny skies and temperatures in the low-80s greeted the team for their first practice that went 2 ½ hours. Southern Miss started the practice with special teams drills, before going into individual periods and ended with 18 team periods.

Head Coach Jay Hopson

On the team’s goals
“Our goal is to win a Conference USA Championship, to compete for that. Last year was a great year, but it’s in the past. This year is the year that we want to win a championship. I told them, ‘On that Eagle Walk they only put the champions up there.'”

On the Southern Miss history he’s familiar with
“We gotta go to work. We can’t rest on our past laurels. We can’t look at four years back, we can’t look at last year, we can’t look at 10 years back… We can’t look back. You just got to look forward. That’s all we can do. That’s all we can control.”

On what it will take for the Golden Eagles to reach their goals
“You go to work to do things right and be successful. If you don’t? You don’t do things successful. We know the journey we got. We just gotta go to work.”

Julian Allen, redshirt-junior tight end

On his spring thoughts
“Went through the spring. I felt good. I’m back now. This offseason I just tried to do as much as I could to make sure I put myself in the best position to stay healthy and continue to stay healthy.”

On being with his teammates again
“It’s awesome. At the end of the day that’s what I’m here for, that’s what I came here for to play football. Now that I finally get the chance to do that and be out there with my brothers and my teammates; that’s a great feeling.”

Nick Mullens, senior quarterback

On the start of camp
“Overall I thought it was a great start. The process of communication, getting plays in and out, subbing, the extra parts of the game, went really smooth. Execution went well. The receivers worked hard all summer. It’s pretty cool to see how that work and that chemistry built in the summer as a transition to the fall camp. The defense is always going to give us challenges, especially Eljah [Parker]. I swear every play is like puzzle match with him.”

On his preseason accolades barrage
“I credit a lot of that stuff to last year, and as a player you really can’t worry about last year. I’ve said it a couple of times, it’s all about 2016 Southern Miss. It’s my senior year. Brandon Farmer, Cameron Tom, D.J. Thompson, it’s those guys’ senior years as well. For us to be successful we gotta go all in on this year and that’s what we’re really excited to do.”

Ricky Parks, fifth-year senior tight end

On how the first day went
“Today was a great day. We got after it today. We ran a lot of deep routes. We just ran a lot of routes today. Flew around on the offense and the defense, so today was a good day. Everybody pushed through it. The gasses at the end were tough, but we all made it through.”

On his physical appearance
“When I was here last year, I was like 280 coming in playing defensive end and I made a transfer to tight end last season. I dropped about 20 pounds at the end of the season last year but coming into this season, I’m like 240 now. I dropped 80 pounds, not 80 pounds but 40 pounds in the last year and a half. It’s been a great transition for me. I’m moving better, I feel better and I’m running faster so I like the way I’m at right now.”

Tickets: Season tickets for the 2016 Southern Miss home season can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, or by calling the Athletic Ticket Office at 1-800-844-TICK (8425) as well as visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Center on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Golden Eagles open the 2016 season at Kentucky on Sept. 3. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.

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