HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Spring practices are designed for several purposes, but the biggest is for players to compete to see who deserves to start.
One of the most important battles to pay attention to is between junior quarterback Nick Mullens and redshirt sophomore Tyler Matthews.
"We're out here for the same reason, to compete, to play, to be great for Southern Miss and so for me to be my best, I just got to worry about myself," Mullens said after the team's first spring practice session. "Tyler's a great quarterback with a very strong arm so we're excited. We're good buddies. We have a good relationship and we're excited about the competition."
Mullens started for USM last season before going down with a foot injury in the latter part of the 2014 campaign, but returned to the starting role in the team's final two games.
Matthews, a transfer from TCU, sat out last year due to NCAA rules but is expected to compete for playing time.
"Competition as a whole is going to make all of us better. We got a great group of receivers and they're all pushing each other and that's only going to make us better as a whole," Matthews said. "Great guys up front pushing each other with all the juco guys we got in. So, absolutely with Nick and I, but it doesn't just stop there with us."
Southern Miss hosts their spring game April 18.