Bower pleased with progress
By By Stan Caldwell / staff writer
Aug. 18, 2002
HATTIESBURG Jeff Bower was a lot happier after watching his team's second scrimmage Saturday than he was with its initial scrimmage on Wednesday.
The University of Southern Mississippi head football coach praised his offense following the nearly three-hour scrimmage at Roberts Stadium that wrapped up the Golden Eagles' first full week of practice.
Saturday's scrimmage did nothing to settle the issue of who USM's starting quarterback will be when the Golden Eagles tee it up Aug. 31 against Jackson State at Roberts Stadium. Junior Zack White and redshirt sophomore Mickey D'Angelo alternated with the No. 1 offense, and each posted nearly identical statistics.
D'Angelo completed 9 of 14 passes for 162 yards and White was 8-of-14 for 164 yards. Neither had a touchdown pass, and both threw an interception.
Senior LeRoy Handy caught four passes for 67 yards to lead the receiving corps, including a splendid catch from D'Angelo between two defenders that went for 45 yards and set up the first touchdown of the day for the top offensive unit.
Senior strong guard Torrin Tucker says all of USM's quarterbacks are performing well, and included sophomore Dustin Almond in with D'Angelo and White.
Senior tailback Derrick Nix showed some lingering effects from a pulled hamstring he suffered early last week, but still managed 32 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown.
With Nix's playing time down a little because of his injury, sophomore James Walley stepped up to lead the team with 43 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns.
The play everyone was talking about, however, didn't come on offense or defense, but on the kickoff return drills that opened the scrimmage. Freshman Tootie Myers took a kick on a cross-field journey that officially covered 95 yards, before he was run down at the 5-yard-line.
There was some bad news for USM on the injury front. Senior cornerback Corey Yates injured his right knee and was to undergo an MRI. Yates has been trying to come back after missing almost all of last season with an injury to his left knee.
Also, sophomore wide receiver Rocky Harrison remains in intensive care at Wesley Hospital after suffering a lacerated kidney in Wednesday's scrimmage. He is expected to be sidelined at least eight weeks, and will probably be redshirted for the season.
After taking today off, the Golden Eagles will swing into their regular one-a-day practice schedule on Monday. Scrimmages this week are scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday.