5 things learned at Monday's press conference
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 21:09
The quarterback situation is no clearer in week three. After a successful first drive, quarterback Anthony Alford struggled. Chris Campbell came off the bench late in the third quarter to lead a touchdown drive but not much else. The coaching staff had hoped one quarterback would separate themselves from the others but that has not happened, simple as that. Last week, Alford took all of the first team snaps but Campbell will split those snaps this week. Fans seemed unsure of what Campbell did to lose the job after Nebraska, but the coaching staff seems to be in love with Alford’s athletic ability and potential. “By the time the game was over, I thought it was obvious that Alford could do some things with the ball in his hands. I think we had twelve explosive plays, five of them were runs, and he was involved in every one of them,” Head Coach Ellis Johnson said on Monday.
Injuries will add to the list of adversities for offense. The last thing an offense needs when it’s struggling with quarterback consistency, dropped passes, and missed assignments is injuries to key players. Senior left guard Joe Duhon is the biggest injury to note. He injured his hamstring Saturday and missed several plays against ECU. Sophomore Taylor Peterson is stepping into Duhon’s position but, if he can’t be affective, the Eagles will be forced to move players around. This will undoubtedly mess with the offensive line’s production and cohesiveness- which they will need. Western Kentucky’s defensive line is led by defensive end Quanterus Smith who recorded three sacks against Alabama’s vaunted offensive line. Wide receiver Tracey Lampley is the other injury of concern. Coach Johnson said he would be limited in practice but should be ready to go on Saturday.
Southern Miss must thrive in the underdog role to win. What a difference a year makes. Last year, Southern Miss closed the season as Conference USA and Hawaii Bowl champions. This year, Vegas has them losing to a Sun Belt Conference team. The Eagles are coming off rough games and have dug themselves into a 0-2 hole to start the season. The Hilltoppers are coming off the biggest win in school history, an upset of Kentucky. All of the season’s momentum and confidence will be on the Western Kentucky sideline while the Golden Eagles will have to feed off of desperation. Time will tell if Southern Miss can match the intensity of Western Kentucky.
Key matchup: WKU TE Jack Doyle vs. USM Spur Jerrion Johnson. The success of the Nasty Bunch will probably rest on the success Junior Jerrion Johnson has in covering Western Kentucky’s tight end Jack Doyle. Doyle is dubbed “Mr. Reliable” and is the fifth leading receiver in school history. Southern Miss will not face many skilled tight ends in conference play but WKU runs a west-coast system that relies on running backs and tight ends. Doyle is listed at a large 6’-6”, 253 lbs. while Johnson is listed at 6’-1”, 195 lbs. Johnson is excited for the matchup saying, “I’m always up to the challenge, especially in coverage. It lets me know that I can still get out there and use my defensive back skills.”