Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Most coaches would be concerned about turning to a green quarterback on the cusp of conference play, but Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora isn’t one of them.
Starting quarterback Austin Davis was ruled out for the season after suffering a ligament tear in his foot and now it’s up to redshirt junior Martevious Young to help the Golden Eagles notch their 16th consecutive winning season.
“Obviously, everybody’s very, very disappointed for Austin Davis,” Fedora said. “I can’t say that it’s not going to affect us, but I do feel a sense of excitement about seeing how Martevious is going to respond in this situation.”
Young has played in four games during his career and started against Rice in 2007 before suffering a broken leg that ended his season. During his career, he’s completed two passes and thrown an interception. He’s also rushed for 45 yards.
Still, what Young lacks in playing experience, Fedora said he makes up in credibility with his teammates.
“The funny thing is Martevious Young is a very well-liked player on this football team,” Fedora said. “When Austin Davis won the starting job, Martevious was very much liked at that time and the way he handled the situation with class and dignity and to continue to prepare like he had, I think earned a lot of respect from the rest of his teammates.”
Fedora noted that despite Young’s passing numbers, he actually has a stronger arm than Davis, a two-year starter, though he’s not quite as accurate. Fedora said Young also adds another running option.
There are no plans to change the Southern Miss offense for Young except to simplify it while he gets his feet wet. His first start in two years will come against Louisville this weekend.
“There may be a few things that we limit just because he hasn’t had the reps on as many things,” Fedora said. “So, we may trim it down a little bit as far as what we do, but I really think in the year and however many games this has been, he’s gotten enough reps in practice and spring ball and scrimmages and all that that I feel comfortable that he’ll have plenty of offense.”
And Davis, who has struggled with the prospect of his season ending, has taken on a coaching role trying to help Young lead the team and challenge for the Conference USA East title.
“[Davis’ responding] just like you think Austin would,” Fedora said. “He was disappointed, I’m sure, initially. We talked about what his role is now and how he helps this football team from this point on. He’s out there at practice and he’s talking to [Young]. He’s got to convey the reps and experience that he’s gotten to [Young] whether it’s in the film room or out on the field. He’s got to do it. I don’t have any doubts that he will.”