HATTIESBURG — First-year Southern Miss coach Todd Monken made it apparent Friday that plenty of youngsters will be taking the field this season for his team.
Freshman running back George Payne had his stock go up on Friday with news that sophomore running back Jalen Richard's status is unclear for the season opener following knee surgery.
Payne won't be the only freshman receiving playing time this year.
"I anticipate playing as many freshmen as we can, as many as are willing to play," Monken said. "I was talking with (special teams coordinator John) Wozniak and he said last year in the national championship game that Alabama had five true freshmen on the kickoff team and three redshirt freshmen. Play talent over age because they'll keep getting better. I do not mean that I don't think we have good players. They're here on scholarship. Let's find out if they can play. I'm not planning for 5 years from now. Our seniors deserve that and our fans deserve that.
"The freshmen will be given a chance We're certainly in no position to feel like we're stacked."
Freshmen quarterbacks Nick Mullens and Parker Adamson both received snaps on Friday, but it will be difficult for either player to break into the battle for the starting job early in camp.