Southern Miss head football coach Jay Hopson has found his guy at the offensive coordinator position. On Monday, FootballScoop.com was the first to report the hiring of Buster Faulkner as the Golden Eagles’ new offensive coordinator. Faulkner replaces Shannon Dawson at the position. Dawson accepted a position as tight ends coach under Dana Holgorsen at Houston when offered that job last month.
Southern Miss will return 10 of 11 starters from its final game last season, giving Faulkner a decent amount of experienced talent to work with during his first year. Here are a few things Golden Eagles football fans should know about their new play-caller:
It all began in Georgia
Faulkner started his coaching career at Valdosta State in Valdosta, Georgia, where he played quarterback from 2000 to 2003 and earned a 47-6 record as a starter while with the Blazers. He worked with the Blazers’ quarterbacks as a student assistant in 2005. The following year, he was given the opportunity to work under Mark Richt as a graduate assistant at Georgia. In 2007 he returned to Valdosta State, where he spent two seasons as quarterbacks coach and one season as offensive coordinator.
Success at every stop
Faulkner has seemed to have had an offensive Midas touch at several different stops as an assistant coach. While at Murray State as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2010, his offense averaged 36 points per game and ranked fourth nationally in passing offense with 315 yards per contest. During his stint at Middle Tennessee State from 2012-2015, he coached notable quarterbacks such as Logan Kilgore and Brent Stockstill. In 2013, five different Blue Raiders rushed for 100 or more yards in a game as the team finished No. 31 in FBS total offense. Faulkner guided the Blue Raider offense as they amassed 5,000 yards of offense in three straight seasons for the first time in program history.
Last stop: Arkansas State
Faulkner’s most recent stop was at Arkansas State, where he served as offensive coordinator and tight ends coach. During his first season with the program in 2016, the Red Wolves surpassed 400 yards of offense in five games and reached the 500-yard mark twice, with five offensive players being named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team. The following year, Arkansas State posted 400 or more yards of offense in all but two games, including a school record total of 781 yards against Louisiana-Monroe. In 2017, 11 Red Wolves on the offensive side of the ball earned All-Sun Belt honors, including quarterback Justice Hansen as the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. Faulkner and other offensive staffers were let go after an 8-5 season in 2018, despite posting 30.8 points and 469.1 yards per game.