Battle for QB to determine offense
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 01:09
Southern Miss football is coming off arguably the best season in the history of the program. Since the bowl win in Hawai’i against Nevada that wrapped up last season, a few things have changed.
The Golden Eagles have a new head coach, Ellis Johnson, and lost Austin Davis, a four-year starter at quarterback.
Many questions surround the program coming into the 2012 football campaign, the most glaring of which is, “Who is going to going to fill the shoes of Austin Davis?”
Davis broke records for passing yards (10,722), touchdown passes (81), completion percentage (61.6 percent) and total offense (12,082) in his four-year tenure. The man who held these records before Davis went by the name of Brett Favre.
The Golden Eagles have a number of different quarterback options heading into the home opener.
The three-man battle to replace Davis includes red-shirt junior Chris Campbell, red-shirt freshman Ricky Lloyd and freshman Anthony Alford.
The early nod after the annual Black and Gold game in the spring went to Chris Campbell. Campbell has the most experience, and it has been transparent thus far. He had a solid spring game performance, completing 12 of 18 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown, managing to avoid any major mistakes.
Lloyd looks mediocre, completing 12 of 24 for 199 yards with no touchdowns in the spring game, while taking only a few snaps against Nebraska without completing any of his three pass attempts.
Incoming true freshman quarterback, Anthony Alford, throws a wrinkle in the quarterback battle simply on his ability to run the football. Most people thought Alford might be taking snaps as a running threat, similar to Tim Tebow his freshman year at Florida behind Chris Leak.
After Alford’s impressive performance in his first collegiate game in Lincoln, head football coach Ellis Johnson has since named him the starting quarterback for the home opener against East Carolina. Alford ran the ball 15 times for 84 yards, moving the offensive up and down the field effectively.
Campbell threw the ball more effectively, but Alford’s impact with his legs are unmatched, and he looks to be the main man under center for the time being.
Lloyd seemingly has dropped out of the race for the most part, while Campbell expects to see his share of snaps moving forward. Only time will tell how the battle for the signal-calling job in Hattiesburg might play out.
There will be no improving on what the Golden Eagles achieved last year as Conference-USA champions, but a bowl game and a winning season should be in the future for the 2012 squad. The Golden Eagles have had 18 straight winning seasons and made 10 consecutive bowl games.
Southern Miss opened the season in Lincoln, with Big Ten foe Nebraska, possibly the toughest game on the 2012 schedule.
On top of that, the Golden Eagles will host Louisville and Boise State in back-to-back weeks in the fourth and fifth games on their schedule.
This is easily the hardest non-conference schedule the Golden Eagles have faced in recent years. The 2011 Southern Miss team would have had their hands full with a schedule this tough and that is with an experienced quarterback.
If Southern Miss does not figure out the quarterback dilemma in a hurry, it might be a long season for the Golden Eagles.