HATTIESBURG — Southern Miss offensive guard Brandon Farmer takes it personal that two Golden Eagle quarterbacks were hurt in last week’s game against Charlotte.
He says that, no matter who is lining up behind center, it’s his job — and the rest of the offensive line’s — to make sure defensive players don’t touch the quarterbacks.
“It was a big toll on us losing Nick (Mullens), our starter,” said Farmer, a 6-foot-3, 308-pound senior who played at Harrison Central. “He’s been my quarterback for the past several years. It was a big toll knowing that he was hurt. This is being a friend and a teammate.
“Parker Adamson was playing great while he was in there. Then he got hurt, and that hurt me a lot, too.”
Mullens was rocked when he ran a quarterback draw play for 4 yards on USM’s first possession of the third quarter. Team medical personnel checked him out under concussion protocol and although he went back in the game the next offensive series, he did not play after that.
Adamson came on and did a credible job, completing 13 of 27 passes for 155 yards and no interceptions, but the 6-4, 214-pound junior suffered an injury with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game.
“We’re supposed to protect to the best of our abilities, it doesn’t matter who is back there,” Farmer said. “We’re going to protect whoever is back there throwing the ball or handing the ball off.”
“We have confidence no matter who is the quarterback. They will take the precautions to be ready for the game, the coaches are, to make sure the quarterback is ready no matter what’s going to happen in the game. The offensive line is going to have to man up to protect whoever is back there.”
Southern Miss coaches would not release any specific information on the quarterback injuries but head coach Jay Hopson did say “I think Nick will be OK.”
Farmer has been doing his part recently on the Golden Eagles’ experienced offensive line.
“I thought for the last few weeks Brandon has played well, played hard,” USM offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “Nobody is playing perfect but I have been very pleased with Brandon’t attitude, I have been very pleased with Brandon’s effort as of late, no doubt.
“He’s an upperclassman guy who people look up to and expect to go out there and perform at a high level. I think he’s doing his part lately, no doubt.”
All the Southern Miss offensive linemen need to play well in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. Conference USA game at Old Dominion. USM is 5-4 overall and 3-2 in C-USA, and needs a sixth victory to become bowl-eligible. The Monarchs are 6-3 and 4-1, and clinched bowl-eligibility for the first time last week with a 38-14 win over Marshall.
“Their defensive front is probably, if you look at the conference teams we’ve played, the defensive front is probably the best we’ve seen all year,” Dawson said. “They’re physical, long, get after it, lot of movement. We’ve got our hands full up front. They get after it. It’s not just four guys, they roll a lot of people in there, but all of them play hard. They’re very active, make a lot of plays, make it very hard to protect. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks.”
Against Marshall, Old Dominion sophomore defensive end Oshane Ximines had two quarterback sacks and now has 4.5 this season. Bunmi Rotimi has 5.0 sacks this year for ODU.
Farmer hopes the Golden Eagles will be ready for the challenge.
“It’s very important to correct our mistakes now because the next couple of games, it’s important to go on to the championship,” he said.
Who: Southern Miss vs. Old Dominion
When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Norfolk, Va.
Radio: 104.9 FM