Preview 2019: Previewing and looking ahead to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles season with what you need to know.
2018 Record: 6-5 overall, 5-3 in Conference USA
Head Coach: Jay Hopson, 4th year, 21-16
5. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SOUTHERN MISS OFFENSE
– The offense that sputtered and struggled way too often – scoring 27 points or fewer eight times in 11 games – gets back nine starters and maybe ten. There was no ground game and no downfield passing attack – letting the defense try to win games – but …
– The quarterback situation is settled with Jack Abraham back. The junior was terrific with the short to midrange passing game completing a nation-leading 73% of his passes with 15 touchdowns. He threw ten picks, but overall he was more than fine. Tate Whatley filled in and was fine in his few moments of work, and sophomore Marcelo Rodriguez got in a little bit of work, too. However …
– Is Quez Watkins going to be able to go? The team’s all-star leading receiver missed spring ball and is questionable for the season with academic eligibility issues, but second-leading receiver Tim Jones is back after coming up with 42 grabs.
In all, including Watkins, the top six wide receivers return, but lose TE Jay’Shawn Washington. Considering Abraham is able to spread the ball around, the passing game will click no matter what, but it’ll be a whole lot better if Watkins returns.
– All five starters are back on an offensive line, but it was a disaster. It was the second-worst in the nation in tackles for loss allowed and gave up 33 sacks. Throw in the lack of a running game, and now the production has to match the experience.
6-3, 310-pound center Arvin Fletcher is the best of the bunch, and there’s excellent size and depth, but now this group has to block someone.
– The running backs are there if they get room to work. Sophomore Trivenskey Mosley came up with a nice true freshman season with a team-leading 499 yards – not a lot, but averaged five yards per carry. He’s a slippery-dangerous runner, and 6-2, 242-pound Steven Anderson brings the thump – the sophomore was second on the team in rushing and ran for a team-high six scores.