USM, Hall dismiss 3 coaches

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Will Hall will get a fourth season in Hattiesburg as the Southern Miss athletic administration let it be known that they would keep their coach even before the Golden Eagles took the field on Saturday in an eventual 35-17 loss to Troy University.

A day later, Hall began making changes to his staff with the dismissal of defensive coordinator Dan O’Brien, defensive line coach Brandon Lacy and tight ends coach Cayden Cochran. All three assistants were part of Hall’s inaugural staff during the 2021 season.

O’Brien moved up to defensive coordinator after former coordinator Austin Armstrong left for a spot on the staff at Alabama before finally ending up as the defensive play caller this season at the University of Florida.

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O’Brien was promoted to defensive coordinator after being the safeties coach and he kept that responsibility after his promotion.

This season the USM defense game up 35.75 points per game and surrendered over 178 rushing yards per contest.

Lacy spent 10 years on the staff at Southeastern Louisiana and came to Hattiesburg after most recently working at Richmond.

Cochran had previously been an offensive coordinator at Division II Emporia State before being hired by Hall in Hattiesburg.

The area where Southern Miss has been most unsettled during Hall’s tenure on the field is the position of quarterback.

The Golden Eagles began the season with former Clemson walk-on Billy Wiles under center and he threw for 1,934 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Late in the season, the offense was handed over to true freshman quarterback Ethan Crawford. Crawford, coming off a major lower leg injury suffered as a high school senior, went 19-of-38 passing for three touchdowns.

Hall gave up his duties as play-caller when Southern Miss was in the middle of a losing streak. Quarterback coach Jordy Joseph and offensive line coach Sam Gregg split play calling and the offense showed improvement as the season progressed.

The University of Louisiana-Monroe, one of two Sun Belt foes USM beat this season, is looking for a new head coach after announcing that Terry Bowden would not return after three seasons at the school.