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Golden Eagles choose D'Angelo

By By Stan Caldwell / EMG sports writer
Aug. 27, 2002
HATTIESBURG The wait is over at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Head coach Jeff Bower answered the question that has been on the lips of every Golden Eagle fan since the end of the 2001 season by naming Micky D'Angelo as the starting quarterback for Saturday's season opener against Jackson State at M.M. Roberts Stadium.
D'Angelo, a redshirt sophomore from Long Beach, beat out redshirt freshman Dustin Almond and redshirt sophomore Zac White in a spirited competition.
D'Angelo got the word as he stepped on the field for practice Monday. He said he was obviously happy with the decision, but stressed that all three quarterbacks were capable of doing the job.
Although D'Angelo will start, the USM coaching staff said Almond may play in certain situations Saturday against the Tigers. White will not play as he is still feeling the effects of a bout with mononucleosis that kept him out of practice last week.
USM offensive coordinator Chris Klenakis said the biggest factor in D'Angelo's favor was his decision-making.
Bower said the Golden Eagles will spend the week putting the finishing touches on their game plan for JSU. Despite the fact that defending Big Ten champion Illinois comes to town the week following the JSU game, Bower said USM will use its full offensive arsenal against the Tigers.
The Golden Eagles have a sense of urgency generally after last season's disappointing 6-5 season that saw them miss out on a bowl bid for the first time since 1996.
Bower said backup offensive lineman Ben Culp, a junior transfer from Northeast Oklahoma Community College, will not play due to a shoulder sprain. Also, sophomore wide receiver Chris Johnson will not play after being suspended for disciplinary reasons.