Howze: "It's My Time Now"

Howze:  "It's My Time Now"

The Eagles took in their fourth practice early Monday morning, and GoldenEaglePride.com caught up with starting linebacker Alan Howze to hear about the early practices, his role this season, and who he expects to fill those roles next to him.

Southern Miss went through their fourth practice of the fall as they prepare for Nebraska in a few weeks. Coach Tommy West and the Eagle defense had a great spring, and according to Howze, things have picked up where they left off.

"It went great today, we installed our man coverages and that was the main focus for us today," he said after the morning workout.

"We had good retention coming back from the spring. Players were able to understand the strategy and understand what we were able to do."

Howze personally is coming off of a great summer as he prepares to bear the load from losing senior starters a year ago.

"The main thing for me was just gaining muscle and putting on some extra pounds," he said. "I need that to be able to take on what I will at a Division One linebackers spot."

Leadership is what the Eagles expect of Howze this season, and on a young linebacking core, he is ready to provide that.

"You know it has been a long time coming," he said. "I've been behind Korey and those before me. Its a good feeling because now it is my time. It is my turn to contribute.

"As of right now it is going really good. I feel like I am able to communicate with the linebackers real well and I feel like the young guys are picking it up. It is just a good feeling to have."

Howze said there have been several who have impressed and he could see taking on that role next to him.

"JJ (Jerrion Johnson) and Dylan Reda have really stepped it up so far," he said. "It is good because our communication is great so far. Even though we've only been playing for a short time we are able to look at each other and know what we are thinking.

"Overall we have picked it up fast. Even in the spring we were able to pick up everything they threw at us. Coming back from fall camp we were able to naturally just go out and play."

Howze said Coach Tommy West has been a big part of what has happened early for the Eagle defense so far.

"He's a great coach, no doubt," he said. "Having him being defensive coordinator and our position coach is a great combination because the communication between us and him effects the whole defense.

"This is his defense and he has taught us so much already."

The Eagles will get back to work tomorrow with the first two-a-day of the fall.

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