Team preview: Southern Miss

The Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook previews the 2008 Southern Miss Golden Eagles, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: July 1, 2008, 9:56 AM ET
Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook
Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at the Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2008 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(All information as of June 20, 2008)

COACH AND PROGRAM

Over 17 years as Southern Miss' head coach, Jeff Bower specialized in consistent success. Along the way, the Golden Eagles achieved 14 consecutive winning seasons, played in 10 bowl games in the last 11 seasons and won five Conference USA or East Division titles.

What Bower didn't do after all that time was capture the imagination of Southern Miss' biggest donors. The Golden Eagles won with defense and the running game, and in a conference loaded with wide-open, high-flying, up-tempo offenses, the relationship between Bower and the Southern Miss power brokers simply grew stale.

When Southern Miss entered the season picked by most preseason polls to win the East, lost three home games, finished with a 7-6 record and fell far short of preseason expectations, firing Bower was the only acceptable solution for the people behind the curtains.

Enter Larry Fedora, an energetic, enthusiastic 45-year-old with a reputation for running a high-octane, no-huddle spread offense at Florida and Oklahoma State. Mark Twain's biting quote, "the expert is the man from out of town" applies well here. The fans grew bored with Bower's sustained level of success over a prolonged period and wanted some excitement. If it's excitement they wanted, they've got it from Fedora.