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Southern Miss Golden Eagles Betting Tips - Fresh Faces And A New Head Coach Arrive

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/21/2012 6:42:05 PM

Head Coach: Ellis Johnson
Offensive Coordinator: Ricky Bustle
Defensive Coordinator: Tommy West
Stadium: M.M. Roberts Stadium
Capacity: 36,000

Offense

In the world of NCAA football betting, the primacy of the quarterback position simply can't be overstated… not on most occasions, at any rate. Because of the rapid rate at which players come and go in college football, it is hard to develop continuity every few seasons. Teams might hit the jackpot with one quarterback over a span of two or three years, but when that quarterback leaves, there's no guarantee that the next one will be just as good, or even close to the same level. This is the problem facing Southern Mississippi on offense this season. USM will need to start from scratch at its most important on-field position.

Quarterbacks Chris Campbell and Ricky Lloyd are waging an open competition to replace prolific senior Austin Davis, who threw for at least 3,100 yards and 20 touchdowns in three of his four seasons as the Golden Eagles' quarterback. Former head coach Larry Fedora and Davis established a great rapport together, but now incoming offensive coordinator Rickey Bustle must find a new signal caller and mesh with him. Head coach Ellis Johnson will devote more time to the defense, which makes Bustle's job that much more important on this team, a team that will have a hard time matching the standard set by its predecessor. It's an uncertain time for this offense.

Grade: C+

Defense

The ranks of betting sites are going to be watchful this year, riveting their eyes to the new head coach in Hattiesburg, Miss. Former USM head coach Larry Fedora watched his reputation soar in the coaching profession. The former offensive coordinator generated such considerable acclaim last season that he was plucked by the University of North Carolina as the Tar Heels' next head football coach. Ellis Johnson, the former defensive coordinator at South Carolina and a man who has been coaching scholastic football since 1975 – college football without interruption since 1982 – was tabbed as Southern Mississippi's newest coach.

Johnson has brought aboard an all-star coaching staff, plucking two former head coaches as his coordinators. Tommy West, the former head coach at both Clemson and Memphis and an old hand in the college football business, will be Johnson's defensive coordinator. After the tenure of an offense-first guy such as Fedora, USM is going to experience a culture change under a defense-first coach such as Johnson. Southern Mississippi has to learn to win games more on the basis of its defense in 2012. Betting gurus will quickly see just how creative and resourceful Johnson can be as a collegiate head coach, an experience he's never tasted before. West will be highly valued as an assistant who can lend cohesion to the coaching staff and enable Johnson to oversee enough of the big picture.

Grade: C+

Special Teams

Various online sports betting analysts will note that Southern Mississippi did not finish in the top eight of Conference USA in average yards per punt. The team made more field goals than any other in C-USA, but it converted just under 68 percent of all kicks, a poor rate. With a less formidable offense, this team's kicking game must improve dramatically in 2012.

Grade: D+

Prediction

The Golden Eagles just won't have the horses to keep up with Central Florida in Conference USA's East Division. A second-place finish would be solid, but USM might finish third behind Marshall.

2012 Schedule

Week 1 – at Nebraska (3:30 PM ET)
Week 2 – vs. East Carolina (3:30 PM ET)
Week 3 – at Western Kentucky (7:00 PM ET)
Week 4 – vs. Louisville (8:00 PM ET)
Week 5 – vs. Boise State
Week 6 – at Central Florida (8:00 PM ET)
Week 7 – vs. Marshall (7:00 PM ET)
Week 8 – at Rice (1:00 PM ET)
Week 9 – vs. Alabama-Birmingham (7:30 PM ET)
Week 10 – at SMU
Week 11 – vs. UTEP (8:00 PM ET)
Week 12 – at Memphis (3:30 PM ET)

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