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Davis, defense key to USM's success

By By Austin Bishop / EMG regional sports director
July 24, 2003
When the University of Southern Mississippi has fielded an outstanding football team, the reason for the success has been pretty easy to detect a great defense or an outstanding quarterback or both.
Whether or not USM has both this season has yet to be determined, but it is highly likely that the Southern Miss defense will uphold the school's 'Nasty Bunch' image.
Keying that defense is All-American linebacker Rod Davis. The senior, who is a Butkus Award candidate, led Conference-USA last season with 168 tackles, including a school record 23.5 tackles for a loss.
"I think he's hungry to win a championship," said USM head coach Jeff Bower of his defensive leader. "He's gotten better every year and worked hard this summer to improve on a couple of things that he needs to improve on. He's got football instincts and he studies the game."
Davis, who graduated in May with a degree in business management, considered entering the NFL draft after the 2002 season, but decided to return to Hattiesburg for his senior season.
Davis is joined by defensive teammates Michael Boley (linebacker), Terrell Paul (defensive lineman), Greg Brooks (defensive back) and Etric Pruitt (defensive back) on the 2003 preseason C-USA football team.