Southern Miss

Southern Miss QB situation up in the air after injuries

Charlotte's Larry Ogunjobi pressures Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens at M. M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg Saturday.
Charlotte's Larry Ogunjobi pressures Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens at M. M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg Saturday. ttisbell@sunherald.com

Southern Miss record-setting quarterback Nick Mullens got his bell rung and left Saturday’s game against Charlotte.

Backup quarterback Parker Adamson came in the game, led the Golden Eagles on two scoring drives, then he was hurt late in the game and left the field.

Tez Parks, a running back who played quarterback in high school, entered the game and threw a long pass that was intercepted.

Keon Howard, a true freshman from Laurel, is listed No. 3 on the depth chart, but head coach Jay Hopson wants to redshirt him.

Kwadra Griggs is a community college transfer quarterback, but he is not eligible to play this season.

So who will start at quarterback for Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon at Old Dominion?

Nobody is talking, at least not much.

“We’re going to see,” Hopson said Monday. “I think Nick will be OK by Friday but we’re just going to wait to see how it goes.”

This week’s depth chart is the same as it has been most of the season. Mullens is listed as the starter, with Adamson or Howard the backup.

USM fans undoubtedly hope Mullens, who has started 25 straight games, is back in there.

The senior from Hoover, Ala., has thrown for 11,306 yards and 80 touchdowns in his career, better than anyone ever at Southern Miss, and has passed for 2,584 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

“It was a big toll on us losing Nick,” said Brandon Farmer, an offensive lineman who prepped at Harrison Central High School. “He’s been my quarterback for the past several years. But the offensive line is going to protect to the best of our abilities, no matter who is back there.”

In Saturday’s 38-27 loss to Charlotte, Adamson completed 13 of 27 passes for 155 yards.

As for his status for this week’s Conference USA game at Old Dominion, Hopson said, “We’re going to wait and see how it goes with him by Tuesday or Wednesday.”

Howard has not been ruled out of playing, even though the plan was to redshirt him.

“Keon will get some reps (in practice this week), but we’ll see how the week plays out,” Hopson said.

While the Southern Miss coaches may have their fingers crossed, they are not relying on luck to get them through Saturday’s game.

“I promise you we have a plan,” offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. “It was evident when Parker went out there, we’ve got guys who can run the offense. I’m comfortable with all of them.”

Turning it over

Also on Monday, Southern Miss coaches talked about turnovers.

The Golden Eagles have committed 20 turnovers (11 interceptions and nine lost fumbles) to only eight (five interceptions and three lost fumbles) for the opposition this season.

In the last five games, USM has committed 11 turnovers and the opposition has committed one.

“The biggest thing is we have to get more takebacks and we have to be secure with the ball,” Hopson said. “That’s the tale of the team and that’s the reality of the situation. You look at some teams and it’s amazing about how the teams with the high turnover margins are having a good year. It usually goes hand-in-hand.”

Game plan

Who: Southern Miss vs. Old Dominion

When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Norfolk, Va.

TV: WXXV-Fox

Radio: 104.9 FM

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