BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Coach Todd Monken knows it's time for his Golden Eagles to consistently fly under the win column. In two seasons under his guidance, Southern Miss has 4 wins, three of those victories coming in 2014.
Monken said, "The bottom line is, if we do these things, we're going to have a really good season. If we don't turn the ball over like we have. Don't give up as many explosive plays on defense and if we kick and cover better. That's it. He added, "The simple things still win and those are the things we didn't do last year, respective of talent. We have enough talent. We have good coaches. Capitalize on momentum and play better. It's our third year. It's time for us to figure it out and go win some games."
Coach Monken wants his defense to be more aggressive and he thinks they will be.
He's also expecting his offense to be more productive.
It begins with the quarterbacks and there is competition for the starting job this season between Nick Mullens and Tyler Matthews.
6-1, 196 pound Mullens returns for his junior campaign. Last year the Hoover, Alabama native completed 218 of 365 passes for 2-thousand-470 yards and 12 touchdowns.
"There's different ways to view a QB competition, "stated Mullens. "Going forward for me it's really worrying about myself. Coach Monken always says control the things you can control and that's what I really try to focus on. It's been great competition. A lot of good battling day-in and day-out and me and Tyler are always trying to one up one another. Both of us like to work hard and so there is no time to rest, no time to settle. Just worrying about yourself and how you can improve each day."
Tyler Matthews transferred to Southern Miss last season from TCU. The 6-4, 215 pound redshirt sophomore played in four games with the Horned Frogs in 2013.
Matthews said, "Coach Monken, he recruited me out of high school. So, when he found out I was transferring, it kind of opened it up and I was able to get in contact with him. We've got some great guys here, all-around great players. We just want to win some games."
You can expect both Mullens and Matthews to see playing time against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the opening game on September 5th in Hattiesburg, but coach Monken hopes one will assert himself and become the starting quarterback.
The MSU-USM game will kickoff at 9:00 p.m. at M-M Roberts Stadium.