Winless: Elllis Johnson facing brutal scrutiny from Southern Miss fans
Posted by: Pete Roussel on November 13, 2012
Ellis Johnson's first season as the Southern Miss head coach has turned into a nightmare.
The Golden Eagles are the only winless team in D1 football. At 0-10, Southern Miss will round out their season with UTEP and a trip to Memphis.
While there's no excuse for a 119th national ranking in turnover margin, 114th national ranking in scoring offense, or 112th national ranking in scoring defense, let's consider a couple of things.
Did you know that Southern Miss had 10 players drafted from 2000 - 2002? However, only one player has been drafted in the last three years.
I remember when Southern Miss had guys like Adalius Thomas, Patrick Surtain, Sherrod Gideon, TJ Slaughter, Todd Pinkston, Michael Boley, and Greg Brooks.
Today, I literally can't name a single player on the Southern Miss roster. I bet 80% of ESPN reporters can't either. Can you?
There's no denying that Southern Miss should be better than 0-10, but it's hard to imagine pulling the plug on Ellis Johnson after one year. As a former coach, I always back coaches or leave things unsaid. In this case, I do believe Ellis Johnson deserves another year. And remember, the Southern Miss athletic department is believed to be in a stressful financial position at this time.
In case you missed it, former Southern Miss head coach P.W. Underwood defended Ellis Johnson recently. He also ripped Larry Fedora.
Back to the problems... when Johnson hired his staff, he named Rickey Bustle as is offensive coordinator. After some unforeseen circumstances, Johnson made a change and promoted former Petal HS (MS) head coach Steve Buckley to offensive coordinator, while Bustle's role was reduced to running backs coach.
Former head coach Larry Fedora spent four years in Hattiesburg. His records were 7-6, 7-6, 8-5, 12-2. Do you think Fedora benefited from a 4-year starting quarterback in 2011 when USM won the C-USA championship?
Now, the concerning part is recruiting. While I don't put much stock into recruiting services, for the sake of this article, Southern Miss is currently ranked 8th in C-USA according to the 247Sports.com team rankings.
For what it's worth, Rice, UAB, and Tulane have more 3-star prospects committed than Southern Miss. After landing the job, Johnson stated that his staff would make New Orleans and Mobile priorities in recruiting. Right now, of the 15 commitments, only one player is from New Orleans and none are from the Mobile area.
Somewhere, Jeff Bower is shaking his head.
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