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Southern Miss hungry to play

By By Don Hill / EMG sports writer
Aug. 26, 2003
HATTIESBURG The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles head into a final week of practice before the season opener and head coach Jeff Bower has been pleased with the preseason workouts.
Southern Miss opens with the California Golden Bears in Berkeley Saturday at 3 p.m.
Cal opened the season with No. 5 Kansas State and lost 42-28 Saturday. The Golden Bears hit several big plays, including a 65-yard touchdown pass from Reggie Robertson to Geoff McArthur. The Golden Bears offense passed for 378 yards and four touchdowns.
As far as the California defense, Bower said it is a little misleading that they have only nine returning starters on the whole team.
He said having a game under their belt is a plus for the Bears.
This week, the Golden Eagles still have some decisions to make.
Luke Johnson and Neal Schmidt are battling for the punting position, freshmen Brad Langley and Darren McCaleb are dueling for the kicking position and Adam Kelly and Josh Braddy are trying to nab the deep snapper positions.
The only kicking position established is Jacob Matlock of Clarkdale High School, who puts the ball seven or eight yards deep into the endzone on kick offs.
Bower said he will make his decision Wednesday, but they will take two punters, two kickers and two deep snappers out west.
While the Who will be the Southern Miss quarterback?' question hovers the entire preseason, Bower looks at it as just another position with a couple
of guys who can get the job done. Right now, Mickey D'Angelo has the starting nod.
Bower listed a handful of players who have been injured, including offensive lineman Robbie D'Angelo, defensive lineman Jared Parten of West Lauderdale, and quarterback Damion Carter, all whom he thought would return to practice this week.
Wide receiver Kenneth Johnson, who suffered an knee injury last year, is coming along.
After the Cal game the Golden Eagles will have a short time to prepare for their next opponent. They visit Alabama-Birmingham on Sept. 4, for a 6 p.m. ESPN2 contest.