One thing is for sure about the 2023 Southern Miss football team: This is the best team Will Hall has had in three years as head coach in Hattiesburg.
That being said, it’s still unclear how high the ceiling will be for the Golden Eagles this fall. Hall, who inherited a historically good program that had been bad for a couple of years, was able to put together a bowl-eligible team by the end of year two amid a lack of production from the quarterback position.
At Sun Belt Media Days on Tuesday, Hall told reporters this year will be the first time he’s had a complete roster since accepting the position in 2020.
“We feel like this has been a tough build, but it’s been rewarding,” Hall said. “Sometimes, going through things make you who you are. Our older kids are tough, they’re seasoned, and they’re hungry because of what they’ve been through. The way we’ve built it has allowed us to recruit at a higher level and recruit a better player. This is the first time we’ll go into a season equipped to handle the whole season and everything a season could bring.”
Hall, who was an assistant coach at Tulane prior to coming to Southern Miss, mentioned that preseason camp will feature competitions at nearly every position. For the quarterback group specifically, Hall said Clemson transfer Billy Wiles and Houston transfer Holman Edwards will battle for the starting spot with Zach Wilcke sitting third on the depth chart.
“The reason I’m the head coach at Southern Miss is because we’ve deployed quarterbacks everywhere we’ve been. Offensively, we’ve shattered records everywhere we’ve been, and it’s centered around the quarterback,” Hall continued. “There’s a lot of reasons why it hasn’t happened here yet – a lot of them were our fault and some of them weren’t our fault. But now, we’re going into year three, and we feel like we’ve got a chance to get that going.”
Southern Miss will return nine starters on offense and six on defense, headlined by star running back Frank Gore, Jr., and preseason All-American defensive back Jay Stanley. The Golden Eagles will also have 15 new transfers on the sidelines when the season kicks off in September.
2023 Southern Miss Football Schedule
Sept. 2 – vs. Alcorn State
Sept. 9 – @ Florida State
Sept. 16 – vs. Tulane
Sept. 23 – @ Arkansas State
Sept. 30 – vs. Texas State
Oct. 7 – vs. Old Dominion
Oct. 17 – @ South Alabama
Oct. 28 – @ Appalachian State
Nov. 4 – vs. ULM
Nov. 9 – @ Louisiana
Nov. 18 – @ Mississippi State
Nov. 25 – vs. Troy