HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - When Southern Miss unveils new offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner’s offense on Saturday against Alcorn State, Jack Abraham will be running the show under center.
The junior quarterback earns the start in the Golden Eagles’ season-opener, beating out sophomore Tate Whatley in fall camp. However, head coach Jay Hopson said he has plans for both signal-callers this season after Whatley showed potential as a dual-threat in six games last year.
"Jack's the starting quarterback but we understand we got a really good football player in Tate,” Hopson said. “We're excited about having both those two guys leading our football team."
In nine games last season, Abraham passed for 2,347 yards, 15 touchdowns and ten interceptions. Since Faulkner’s arrived, he’s stressed avoiding turnovers and believes Abraham has improved in that area from spring to fall.
"The speed of the game's starting to slow down a little bit,” Abraham said. “I kind of felt that at the end of the year last year. I think I started making better decisions with the ball last year as the year went on."
Abraham led the nation in completion percentage (73.1) last season. Faulkner feels the Oxford native fits perfectly into his up-tempo “multiple spread” system, which emphasizes getting the football to USM’s playmakers in space. “Jack is an ultra-talented arm,” Faulkner said. “He gets the ball out as quick as anybody I’ve ever coached. He’s very smart. He’s able to take things over from the meeting room to the practice field. He’s really starting to take on that role of being a leader, being more vocal. The intangibles are what matter at the position and I think he’s growing every day in those aspects.”