Southern Miss' Will Hall on Home Opener vs. Grambling State: 'My Life's on the Line'

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IISeptember 9, 2021

Southern Mississippi football coach Will Hall joined Lane Kiffin of Mississippi, and Mike Leach of Mississippi State, unseen, in participating in a special "Football at the Fair" program at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 29, 2021. The three Mississippi NCAA Division 1 football coaches discussed their programs' future, joked with each other and answered audience's questions in the hour long program. The fair, also known as Mississippi's Giant House Party, is an annual event of agricultural, political, and social entertainment at what might be the country's largest campground fair. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Southern Miss football head coach Will Hall's debut with the Golden Eagles ended with a 31-7 loss at South Alabama last Saturday.

Hall admitted to reporters Wednesday that he's feeling the heat as the team looks toward its home opener Saturday against Grambling State. He said his "life's on the line":

Trevor Ritchie @ritchietmr

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USM?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USM</a> HC Will Hall on the Golden Eagles’ home opener against Grambling State: “I’m not excited. My life’s on the line.”<br><br>Hall added that right now he feels like the ‘biggest fraud’ to come through Southern Miss in the last 50 years. <a href="https://twitter.com/BigGoldNation?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BigGoldNation</a> <a href="https://t.co/pFDnKT9InL">pic.twitter.com/pFDnKT9InL</a>

Hall arrived at Southern Miss after two years as Tulane's offensive coordinator. He was also a head coach at Division II West Alabama (2011-2013) and West Georgia (2014-2016).

The 41-year-old amassed a combined 56-20 record at those stops and notably led West Georgia to the Division II Football Championship semifinals twice.

Hall's first game with the Golden Eagles did not go well, however. For starters, South Alabama closed the game with 31 unanswered points.

That was because Southern Miss committed four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) and ran the ball for just 2.8 yards per clip. The Golden Eagles struggled through the air, accumulating only 133 passing yards on 13-of-28 attempts.

On defense, Southern Miss couldn't stop South Alabama's Jalen Tolbert, who had five catches for 168 yards.

In sum, it was a rough opening game for a team that posted winning records from 2015-2019 before falling to 3-7 last year.

Southern Miss should be favored over Grambling State, a Division I FCS school that plays in the SWAC. The Tigers did win their opener 16-10 against Tennessee State and could post a threat to the Golden Eagles, however.

Kickoff is Saturday at 6 p.m. ET from M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.