Since the start of camp, it is sure to say that Trey Lowe and Frank Gore Jr. have been the model of consistency for the offense.
Lowe bulked up in the weight room and strengthened his arm. Lowe’s passes were thumping wide receivers in the chest at the start of camp.
In the run game, Lowe will be hard to get on the ground and Gore is simply hard to put a hand on with his ability to make guys miss.
The quarterback and the running back duo have flourished in camp with the help of play in the trenches.
The offensive line is led by returning starter Arvin Fletcher and Khalique Washington. The duo has been a force to be reckoned with under the leadership of offensive line coach Jeremy Darveau.
Throughout camp, the offensive line has created huge holes for running backs and provided time for quarterbacks to make plays in the pocket. In the second scrimmage game of fall camp, the rushing attack put up 515 rushing yards in 77 rushing plays. In comparison to the first fall scrimmage, it was a complete turnaround, as there were only 139 yards rushing.
On “Competition Tuesday”, as Hall has coined it, Tykeem Doss earned the edge over Briason Mays for the starting left tackle position and Bryce Foxworth had earned the starting right guard spot.
The major takeaway from the offensive line has been their physicality and the depth the squad has at multiple positions.
“We feel like we have two deep units at O-line, which is rare at the group of five-level, ” Head Coach Will Hall said.
Competition at the running back position
The secondary running back competition became interesting to watch behind Gore Jr. as Darius Maberry, Dajon Richard and Dee Baker battled in camp.
Maberry earned the edge as the second back, as he showed out with 12 carries on 131 yards rushing in the second scrimmage. Richard took the third spot, but has been moved to the second string for the second game of the season.
The receiving corps is young with talent and has a couple of returning names. The receiver room has returning starters, Antoine “Shurdy” Robinson and Demarcus Jones, who each received 200 plus yards last season. The two have looked solid as Shurdy has performed numerous highlight grabs throughout camp. Hinds Community College transfer Jakarrius Caston has added questions to the slot receiver position as the newcomer has made his presence felt.
Last but not least, star wideout Jason Brownlee, though injured throughout camp, has remained solid. Brownlee caught two passes for 84 yards in the first scrimmage game, which were two huge gains that led to touchdowns.
Talented Incoming Freshmen
The former Taylorsville’s three-star quarterback, Ty Keyes, has adjusted well to the Golden Eagles system. At the start of camp, Keyes had a bit of adjusting to do, adjusting to the new playbook.
The backup quarterback battle was close throughout camp. When fall camp first got underway, the slight edge seemed to lean towards Webb, but he hit a roadblock at the start of the last week of camp, throwing five interceptions in two days.
Keyes did not play his best when Webb struggled, as he was sacked multiple times in the backfield in the first scrimmage game. Since then, Keyes’s talent level has been on full display as he ran 12 times for 114 yards in the second scrimmage game. Keyes has been able to use his legs to scramble but has thrown some impressive passes.
“He’s going to [learn] because he puts everything he has into it. It’s a lot on him, but man can he can play football. I sure am glad they [the Keyes family] trusted me to coach him, ” Hall said.
Southern Miss’s offense struggled in the first game against South Alabama, turning the ball over with two interceptions and two lost fumbles and only produced seven points.
Lowe called his and the offense’s performance ‘uncharacteristic’.
“The good thing is that it’s all fixable,” Hall said. “We’ve got to run the plays and we’ve got to read them right. We’ve got to catch the balls that hit us in the hands.”
Southern Miss will look to fix its mistakes by the next game on Sept. 11 against Grambling State.