Davis travels long path to recovery
Junior QB hopes to beat out teammates, injury to keep starting spot
Published: Monday, March 8, 2010
Updated: Monday, March 8, 2010 22:03
Spring football practice is officially in full swing, and so is Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis.
Well, sort of.
After having the final three screws removed from his left foot in January stemming from a broken foot last year, Davis is still limited, but is making the most of his off-season workouts.
"I'm at about 70 percent right now," the sophomore said Friday. "I'm still pretty limited on drop-backs and I can't really roll out right now. But when I'm out there, I'm taking mental reps constantly."
Davis started six games for the Eagles in 2009, completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 1,165 yards, threw 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions and had an efficiency rating of 150.6.
But late in a 30-17 loss to UAB on Oct. 1, Davis felt pain on the ball of his left foot, and was forced from the game.
Afterwards, Davis limped to the door of the visiting locker room and told reporters his foot was tweaked. After the pain didn't subside the next morning, an MRI revealed the worst injury news of his young career: he had a broken bone in the midfoot, and it would take almost a year to recover.
Luckily for Davis, his recovery has been quicker than most.
"(The doctors) say they'll be able to cut me loose by the start of fall practices," Davis said. "I've been healthy my whole career, now I realize I was really taking it for granted."
Head coach Larry Fedora said he's been impressed with the way Davis has worked around his injury, and said he seems determined not to get behind the eight ball despite being limited.
"His arm has gotten a lot stronger, you can tell his ball is getting out faster with a lot more behind it." Fedora said. "He's moving around alright considering his foot too."
One thing the Eagles have going for them is depth at the position. After Davis' injury, junior Martevius Young stepped up to start the final eight games of the season. Young completed 57.4 percent of his attempts for 1,861 yards, 16 touchdowns to three interceptions and garnered an efficiency rating of 186.1.
Freshman quarterback Chris Campbell red-shirted last year, but appears to be in the mix (albeit a long-shot with Davis and Young still on the roster).
"The whole team knows Martevius is not going to sit back and let Austin have the starting position back," Anderson said. "And Austin enjoys competition more than just about anybody."
Anderson added the competition ends outside of football, and the two are great teammates and friends.
"They both try to make each other better even though they are competing for the same job," he said. "They bounce ideas off each other and talk about schemes and plays. It's as good a situation as I've had with two quarterbacks in my career."