Southern Miss football moves on from two assistants

By CAMAL PETRO,

Southern Miss and coach Jay Hopson are parting ways with two assistant coaches. Offensive line coach Erik Losey and head strength and conditioning coach SaJason Finley will not return to the team, The Sun Herald first reported Thursday.

Both Losey and Finley had contracts running until March 31, 2019, as well as every other assistant coach on Hopson’s staff. It’s unclear if there will be any more changes at this time.

Losey just finished his second season at Southern Miss, but it was his third season working for Hopson after spending a year at Alcorn State in 2013. He spent three years at East Tennessee State in between his stints on Hopson’s staff. Finley has worked as the head strength and conditioning coach since spring 2017, and he oversaw all 17 athletic programs at the university.

The Golden Eagles signed seven offensive linemen during December’s early signing period, including Purvis’ Matthew Ryals, who was blindsided by the news.

“Yeah, I mean, I’m shocked,” Ryals told PineBeltSPORTS Friday. “I liked coach Losey and I’m thankful that he recruited me to the place I wanted to play all of my life. I wish him the best of luck.”

The Golden Eagles finished 120th out of 129 Division I football teams in rushing offense, and the offensive line allowed an average of three sacks per game, which was tied for 111th in the country. To help the offensive line woes, Southern Miss started to shuffle its starting lineup after an October loss to North Texas.

Southern Miss finished the 2018 campaign by becoming bowl eligible for the third straight season, but its 6-5 record wasn’t good enough to earn a bowl invitation.