True freshman Nick Mullens will make the first start of his career for Southern Miss on Saturday against North Texas, head coach Todd Monken said Monday.
Mullens, from Hoover, Ala., will replace redshirt senior Allan Bridgford, who transferred to USM from California in the summer.
Mullens played well in relief of Bridgford on Saturday in a 55-14 loss at East Carolina, completing nine-of-17 passes for 97 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“He's very smart, confident,” Monken said of Mullens. “He has a way about him. Does he have that it factor? We think he does.”
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Bridgford has struggled with turnovers this season, throwing 11 interceptions. He completed two-of-11 passes for 15 yards on Saturday.
Monken is hoping that Mullens can jump start the USM offense.
"What Nick showed us Saturday was his ability to create when things break down," Monken said. "(I don't know) whether or not Allan had that capability, and over time got beat up enough to where he's not able to do that now. The bottom of line is we need a spark. We need something. Is it hard to compare? Of course it is. You're talking about apples and oranges, plays that are called, who you're playing and opportunities each quarterback is given. At this moment, we've got to see what Nick can do. Obviously, we're struggling offensively. That's part of it. We did assess it a week ago. We looked at every throw of Allan's. We looked at our offense in general, looked at Nick. We planned on playing him this last week and we did. It's what we're doing at any position, trying to assess the situation of who gives us the best chance to win."