Fedora passes first test, but Auburn looms

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

HATTIESBURG — If Larry Fedora had trouble sleeping before the Southern Miss opener on Saturday, he likely will have just as much difficulty this Friday night.

It won’t be because of the new coach taking the field for the first time. This is Auburn, as in No. 9 Auburn.

“I slept maybe a couple hours,” Fedora said Saturday night after his team’s first game.

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Fedora, an Oklahoma State assistant coach who replaced longtime USM head coach Jeff Bower in December, led the Eagles to a 51-21 win on Saturday in a game that saw team and personal records fall.

But it was against Louisiana-Lafayette, a team the Golden Eagles should have beaten easily.

This Saturday will be a different animal at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“Traditionally it is one of the loudest stadiums in the country so we will have to prepare with some noise during practice this week,” Fedora said. “We will also have to do a good job with our snap count and the way we handle things.

“It will take some extra concentration on everyone’s part.”


11:30 a.m. WAPT-16 – Southern Miss (1-0) at Auburn (1-0)

Radio: 1180 AM

Fedora runs a no-huddle offense where the players line up on the line of scrimmage, then look to the sideline for the play. Against Louisiana-Lafayette, it worked nearly flawlessly as the Golden Eagles set the school record for total yardage with 633. Running back Damion Fletcher broke his own rushing record with 222 yards and first-year quarterback Austin Davis threw for more than 200.

As a team, the Eagles ran for 427 yards.

“I’ve done it before,” Fedora said of the huge ground game.

Auburn, the only Southeastern Conference team on the Golden Eagles’ schedule, is coming off a 34-0 pasting of Louisiana-Monroe in the first game in the Tigers’ new spread offense.

Defense and special teams led to most of the Tigers’ scoring and Auburn QBs threw for 85 yards as a team. It led first-year offensive coordinator Tony Franklin to say, “We stink and it’s my fault.”

Fedora doesn’t believe the sputtering Auburn offense will stay that way for long.

“Defensively we have our work cut out for us because (Franklin) does such a great job,” Fedora said.