HATTIESBURG — Larry Fedora’s first news conference of the 2010 season went as expected leading to Thursday’s season opener at South Carolina.
Fedora, in his third season as Golden Eagles coach, walked into the media room at the Athletic Center and fielded a question about Southern Miss wide receiver DeAndre Brown.
Questions about Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks would have to wait.
Brown, a junior, was demoted to second team during fall camp behind Quentin Pierce.
Now, Brown appears ready. He has recorded 114 receptions for 1,902 yards and 21 touchdowns in his first two years.
“Early on in camp, DeAndre had some issues with his health that we were getting straightened out,” Fedora said. “He got those straightened out, and Quentin (Pierce) really jumped out and was having a great camp. As things are getting closer (to South Carolina), they are getting closer in the battle.”
“I don’t know if (assistant) coach (Kasey Dunn) is ready to change anything at that position or not, but I know DeAndre really looked good (in Thursday’s scrimmage) and was moving around doing the things he needs. As we get closer to the game he is feeling a little bit better.”
With the Brown issue out of the way, Fedora, 14-12 in two seasons at Southern Miss, turned his attention to Spurrier and the Gamecocks offense.
Fedora said the Gamecocks do a lot more than throw the football.
“They still will jump into his traditional “I” backfield and run sprint draw, sprint draw, pass and all those things off it,’’ Fedora said.
“Plus, they will get in the gun, spread it out, run the inside zone and all the spread passing game. He is doing it both and that is what makes it a little tougher to defend because you have to be able to defend the power game out of the “I” and all the spread you are going to get from the gun.”
Fedora praised Spurrier for making the spread offense, or the Fun-and-Gun, a part of college football. Last season, USC, which has won its past 10 season openers, threw for 2,940 yards and rushed for 1,576 in the SEC.
‘‘When Coach started back there, everyone in the SEC was running the football. That’s all there was,’’ Fedora said.
“He took great advantage of the defensive coverages that he was getting at that time and, obviously, blew everybody up and did a great job. It would be safe to say in the SEC that he definitely started it.
“Routes that he was running then are still good routes today versus certain coverages. People have utilized some of the things that he has implemented from the beginning and he has shown that you don’t have to be real difficult in everything you do in the passing game to be successful.”
Southern Miss, which has won season openers at Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Georgia in the past, is a 14-point underdog at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN.