A pair of 1st-year coaches square off this weekend in Southern Miss-South Alabama clash

Published 9:58 am Thursday, September 2, 2021

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A pair of first-year coaches are set to square off when Southern Miss and South Alabama meet to open their respective 2021 football season at Whitney Hancock Stadium in Mobile, Saturday, at 7 p.m.

“It is one of the most unique game ones in all the country from the standpoint that you have two completely new staffs with a lot of unknowns on both sides of the ball that we are dealing with and what they are dealing with as well,” said Southern Miss coach Will Hall after practice Wednesday. “We just want to make sure that we are tightening things up and controlling (what our team does) and we had a good day of that today.”

Hall, who spent three seasons each as the head coach at West Alabama and West Georgia and posted a 56-20 combined overall mark at those two institutions, steps on the field this week as the 22nd permanent head coach for the Golden Eagles.

He will face Kane Wommack, who was a member of the Golden Eagle squad from 2007-09 as a tight end, and joined the South Alabama staff after a successful stint as defensive coordinator at Indiana in his previous stop.

For Hall, who feels like it will be the same for his counterpart at South Alabama, the focus will be on what their respective team needs to do on Saturday.

“I want to see us do our job and control what we can control and I am sure he is probably saying the same things,” said Hall of Wommack. “We are both football lifers and that is what football is when there are unknowns out there, so you want to make sure you focus on yourself and control what you can control. Hopefully, we are doing that and emphasizing that and our kids are going to do that.”

Southern Miss continued to prepare for the Jaguars with a two-hour practice in shorts and shoulder pads at the Joe P. Park Practice Facility Wednesday morning. After hitting for much of fall camp and going through its weekly competition Tuesday practice, Hall said the team pulled back a little bit from the hitting to get the squad’s legs back under them for Saturday’s opener.

The game can be seen through ESPN+ and heard on one of the affiliates of the Southern Miss Sports Network presented by Learfield.

Season and single game tickets for the 2021 six-game home schedule can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or 601-266-5418, as well as emailing ticket.office@usm.edu.