HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With the first Southern Miss spring football scrimmage in the books, the Golden Eagles still have a lot of questions to be answered about the 2017 team.
"I want us to go back and forth," said second-year USM head coach Jay Hopson. "If I looked at the scrimmage as a whole, at the 35 [yard line] I thought it was pretty even. At midfield, the offense kind of won I thought. In the red zone, the offense won. I thought the two-minute, the defense won. But overall, I'd give the edge to the offense today."
All eyes of course remain on the two guys in red, quarterbacks Keon Howard and Kwadra Griggs. Second-year USM offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said he's seen improvement from both quaterbacks this spring.
"That was one emphasis going into [Saturday's scrimmage] was just not turning the ball over which is obviously one of our issues from last year," Dawson said. "For the most part, I thought we did that. You didn't see any balls on the ground. Ultimately, not going backwards was key today meaning that I wanted to go forward. Let's move the ball and play with a good tempo which I thought we really did. I was pleased with both [Howard and Griggs'] execution."
Whoever's behind center, Dawson wants to make sure the quarterback is getting the football into the hands of USM's playmakers. Besides just the quarterback position, there has been battles across the USM depth chart this spring.
"When you got good, strong, real competition then that basically does the coaching for you," Dawson said. "Don't slip, you know what I mean? I think anytime you can create that kind of competition between two or three players at each position, you gotta come with your 'A' game every day which obviously helps us."
"Competition is great, it's what you need," said USM senior tight end Julian Allen. "If you don't have competition, you get complacent. We have so much depth in our positions that it doesn't allow that to happen so that's a good thing."