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Coaches pleased during fourth USM practice session

Nick Mullens throws to receiver Isaiah Jones during a practice drill on August 9.

Southern Miss finished their fourth practice on Tuesday with coaches pleased at their players’ progress.

“I think right now our retention is really good,” said coach Jay Hopson. “Some guys are struggling a little bit because they’re younger. Some guys, we just have to keep pressing. Some of them are going to be on the depth chart [as a starter or back-up].”

Hopson praises the steady progress that his team is making remembering plays and the positions his team will have to be in to succeed and exceed last year’s total of nine wins.

Competition is one of the main points of emphasis Hopson raises every practice session and Tuesday’s was no different.

“I don’t know if there is any one that is standing out above the rest,” Hopson said. “There’s a lot of guys stepping up. We have just got to keep building and keep getting better.”

Specifically on the offensive line, Oliver Bates, Jacob Fleming and Devin Farrior have all been taking repetitions with the first team offense joined by mainstay center Cameron Tom.

“I think we have good competition at the offensive line,” Hopson said. “We’ve created a little bit more competition which is always a good thing.”

Behind those taking reps with the starters, Wil Freeman, Ty Pollard and Drake Dorbeck will also be striving to crack the rotation protecting Nick Mullens.

But, behind Nick Mullens has been a question coming into the school year. Parker Adamson and transfer Kwadra Griggs are vying for the No. 2 spot behind Mullens. Adamson has been taking the majority of second team reps, but offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson does not read much into the number of repetitions of playing time this early.

“No, not right now. Parker [Adamson] has been doing a really good job. His spring to [summer] has shown really good improvements. He’s daylight in the dark.”

For good measure, Dawson is also examining Mullens with a close eye as well.

“He looked good. Yesterday, he looked poor. You don’t make the right decisions all the time. Just like everybody else, he’s no different than everybody else.”

Another group showing vast competition is the receiver rotation. Although D.J. Thompson looks as the locked-in starter from the repetitions he’s taking, every other spot is up for grabs.

Reid Rials, Korey Robertson, Shawn Brickley, Tyre’oune Holmes and Marquise Ricard are all vying for a starter position. That list does not even include transfers such as Isaiah Jones and Allenzae Staggers who have had a solid summer as well taking repetitions with the first-team.

“We’ve got guys and t’s their time to step up. We just got to keep building. We’re on that steady progress on the buildup to the season.”

Southern Miss will continue to practice all week leading up to their scrimmage on August 13.

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Coaches pleased during fourth USM practice session