Southern Miss puts on scrimmage at Clinton High School|College football

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2010

CLINTON — If the fans can’t come to you, why not take your team to the fans?

Following that philosophy, the Southern Miss football team played a scrimmage at Clinton High’s Arrows Field on Wednesday.

It was the second scrimmage the Golden Eagles have put on for the fans on the road, the first in March in Ocean Springs.

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USM coach Larry Fedora likes that the trip adds a road game-like dimension to spring practice.

“We’ve got six road games this year and this is  a road game for us,” Fedora said. “We try to treat it like that because we’ve got a lot of young guys.”

The scrimmage was not a game-type scrimmage, but one filled with more situational work, like goal line and two-minute drill.

Still, there were plenty of ways to stand out.

Defensively, linebacker Korey Williams had a nice tip-drill interception and former Warren Central standout Chico Hunter made a big play in red-zone work.

Coming in a corner blitz from his nickelback spot, Hunter went unblocked and tagged quarterback Martevious Young Young for a sack to force a long field goal try.

The rising senior was happy with taking the field in front of his family seeing him in a practice environment for the first time, but he felt improvement is in still in order, especially with his conditioning.

“It was just all right,” Hunter said. “It’s been going pretty good. I’m just trying to get in shape a bit. I’ve improved a lot on my man coverage, but I’ve got a ways to go.”

Young got the majority of reps running the offense in place of last year’s starter Austin Davis, who just spent the practice throwing in pass skeleton and jogging around the track while he recovers from a torn ligament in his foot.

Young, a rising senior, completed 25-of-41 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns, one of which came on a leaping 25-yard toss to a diving William Spight, who managed to get his feet inbounds in the back of the end zone. Spight picked up the slack of leading receiver DeAndre Brown, who was out with a tweaked hamstring. Spight had seven catches for 72 yards. Francisco Llanos had five catches for 59 yards, including a nice scoring toss from Young that whistled over his right shoulder for 34 yards.

One focus is rebuilding the offensive line. The Golden Eagles lost four of their five starting linemen, including all-conference center Cameron Zipp. Another key is rebuilding depth in the backfield. With the departure of the school’s all-time leading rusher, Damion Fletcher and the second-leading rusher from last year, Tory Harrison, the Golden Eagles are looking to build a new rotation in the backfield.

Rising senior V.J. Floyd showed why he’ll like be the primary back next season. He led the team on the ground with 63 yards on 13 carries and a pair of rushing scores. Another key component will be Tracy Lampley, who earned the rare feat of scoring in four ways: a kickoff return, punt return, a rushing touchdown and a TD reception. He was the only player in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) to accomplish that feat and Fedora said that the Golden Eagles intend to get Lampley more opportunities.

“We did some good things and we did some bad things,” running back Tracy Lampley said of the offensive performance at the scrimmage. “I feel like I’m going to have a lot more opportunities after I gained a lot of confidence last year.”

Fedora was unsatisified with a few aspects, but was happy with the effort.

“The two things that stood out were that the offense put the ball on the ground too many times and the defense gave up too many explosive plays,” Fedora said. “This was a better scrimmage than we had in Ocean Springs. The guys played harder and they made a lot less mental mistakes.”

Contact Steve Wilson at