Offensive Line Shines Against Southern
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Heading into the 2017 season, most scouting reports listed the Southern Miss offensive line as young and inexperienced.
After all, just three players returned from the previous year with at least one start in their respective careers for a combined total of 44 between them. Redshirt senior Devin Farrior (Waynesboro, Miss.) highlighted the group with 27 career starts at offensive guard, but switched to center to start the campaign after four-year starter Cameron Tom left for the professional ranks following 2016.
Ty Pollard, the redshirt sophomore from Hattiesburg whose dad Lytrel is the Golden Eagles’ running back coach, returned as the only constant from 2016 by starting every game at right tackle, while redshirt senior Jerry Harris entered the year with four career starts.
Despite that lack of experience, that group has more than handled themselves through the first two games and second-year coach Jay Hopson doesn’t expect anything different this weekend when his squad takes to the road for the first time this season in a 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, contest at ULM. The game can be seen on ESPN 3 and also be heard on one of the affiliates of the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network.
Hopson was especially pleased with the group’s effort last Saturday in a 45-0 victory over Southern, which allowed the Golden Eagles to improve to 1-1 on the season, yet also gave a bunch of young players a chance to play.
"They did a really good job,” said Hopson of the offensive line at his Monday news conference. “It was good to see that second group get in there and get about a half. We got some guys in there that I was pleased with and who are going to be an outstanding group. A lot of those guys are freshmen and they did a really good job."
Redshirt freshman Arvin Fletcher (Madison, Miss.), who Hopson signed in his first signing class and has been incredibly positive about since getting to campus, has started the first two games along with redshirt sophomore Drake Dorbeck (Vicksburg, Miss.) and redshirt senior Tyler Stutzman (Smithdale, Miss.). Dorbeck started in the opening game, but an injury against Kentucky has sidelined him indefinitely.
A total of 12 offensive lineman has played for the Golden Eagles thus far this fall, including seven players that are in their first year with the squad.
As this squad continues to improve, it should no doubt help the offense improve on an already strong start to the season that has produced a total of 420.5 total offensive yards per game.
Flex plans, as well as single game and group tickets for the remaining 2017 Golden Eagle home schedule are available and can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, weekdays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Discounts are available for Southern Miss faculty and staff, senior citizens, military personnel, and recent Southern Miss graduates.