BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There's a new attitude in Hattiesburg. The coaches and players are determined to bring back pride and a winning atmosphere back to the campus.
We all know that the Southern Miss football program took a nose dive when Larry Fedora left for North Carolina.
Todd Monken was hired three years ago to help propel Southern Miss back under the win column following an 0-12 season under Ellis Johnson who lasted only one season as the Golden Eagles head honcho.
I could sense a new attitude when the coaching staff and a number of players made their way to the coast for the annual Beach Bash. They feel like they are going to surprise some teams this season.
On Tuesday morning, coach Monken led his Golden Eagles through a two and a half hour practice session under hot and humid condition.
The team participated in one-on-one drills and seven-on-seven skill drills, as well as working on special teams.
Coach Monken said, "First day was good. There was a lot of energy and our guys were moving around but that's every first day. Now, it's how we build on it, sustain it and keep it that way. Everyone needs to raise their level every single day. If we were already where we needed to be then we wouldn't even practice. We are figuring out who is going to play, who is going to contribute, and who is going to be taking the field the first week against Mississippi State."
Running back Jalen Richard is back, returning to the team after missing spring drills.
"This is what I came to school for, to get a degree. "stated Richard. "Football was just a train to get that. Refocusing and making sure I handle those things properly so I can be on the field that was one of the things that motivated me. Being out there with the guys. We spend so much time playing football that we don't have many friends that aren't athletes and getting to be back on the field with them was really motivating."
The Golden Eagles are getting down to business in preparation for the season opener hosting Mississippi State on September 5. The game will kick off at 9 p.m. because it will be televised on Fox Sports 1.