LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - At the Gulf Coast Beach Bash, all the focus was on the football team as they prepare to open up the 2015 season -- September 5 at home against Mississippi State.
The Golden Eagles players visited the Boys and Girls Clubs in Gulfport and Pass Christian before Friday's event at the USM Gulf Park campus.
Longtime Southern Miss broadcaster John Cox emceed and introduced some of the players to the crowd. Those fans have seen their team struggle over the last three years -- four wins in the past three seasons to be exact.
However, the players had a different attitude among them at the 2015 Beach Bash. In prior years, they seemed anxious to speak with their fans. This year, they were confident.
"It's a great feeling being from the coast because that's where I'm from and we're getting support from different fans," junior offensive lineman and Harrison Central graduate Brandon Farmer said. "It's just a chance to give back to the fans that support us in the good times and the hard times."
Those hard times including an 0-12 mark during the 2012 season, 1-11 in 2013 and 3-9 one season ago. Despite the number of losses recently, a bowl game is believed to be a real possibility if you ask the players.
"We've been working extremely hard with coach Zac Woodfin and the strength staff," senior linebacker and Gulfport grad David Bertucci said. "They've trained us to be more athletic, bigger, stronger and faster. I just can't wait for y'all to see us play. It's going to be pretty much a totally different team out there."