Oxford’s Adamson doing just fine at Southern Miss
Extra schoolwork and extra time studying football didn’t bother Southern Miss quarterback Parker Adamson last year.
The former Oxford High standout redshirted last season for the Golden Eagles, but he didn’t sit back. He studied, both on and off the field, during his first year in Hattiesburg. After adjusting to a more rigorous workout schedule last summer, Adamson found his groove, and he ended up being named to the honor roll, thanks to GPAs of 3.85 and 4.0 in his first two full semesters.
“College workouts are nothing like high school,” Adamson said. “Going to summer school and mixing more football with more school was challenging, but it was fun. I learned a lot. I got through it.”
Southern Miss has struggled on the field the past two seasons, going 0-12 in 2012 under Ellis Johnson and 1-11 in 2013 under first-year coach Todd Monken.
“The season didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to be, but I feel like we’re headed in the right direction,” Adamson said. “Coach Monken’s philosophy is change the way we did things. We had to get rid of some people that didn’t fit his philosophy. It was hard. It was hard for the coaches, because everybody was new to the system, new to the team. It was a cleansing, I guess you could say.”
The Golden Eagles lost the first 11 games before defeating UAB 62-27 in the final game of the season on Nov. 30. Adamson said that was a huge boost of confidence for the team heading into the spring and summer workouts.
“I felt like we were right there the whole time,” Adamson said. “We wouldn’t make a play or something; the ball wouldn’t go our way; and then the whole series of events would fall into negative events. We were close the first couple of quarters in games, and then something would happen and everything would fall apart. In that last game against UAB, everything just clicked.
“The offense played well, the defense played well. It really looked like we should have been playing all year,” he added. “At the end of the game, that was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. We needed it. The coaches needed it. Getting that win during the last game, even though it was just one win in a 12-game season, it was still one. It felt great and it really showed what we could do.”
Nick Mullens, a sophomore from Hoover, Ala., is the starter for the 2014 season, but Adamson, who has gained 25 pounds since he graduated from OHS, is right behind him after a strong spring.
“I felt like I had a good spring, and it kind of bumped me up a spot or two. We also had a guy transfer away so that helped. I think I’m doing well,” Adamson said. “Nick came in with a little bit more knowledge of what we do. He ran a similar offense in high school so that gave him a pretty good advantage. I’m starting to get it all.
“The first year was hard because it was all totally new to me, but now I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. I can start telling players what to do and take command. It’s just baby steps. Nick will start all the games, but I see this as a learning opportunity.”
Monken directly recruited Adamson, and it was late in the recruiting process when he decided to give USM a shot. Monken had a great track record of developing quarterbacks in the NFL and in college because of his system, which is tough to pick up at first.
“That was the hardest thing about it going in because it’s all quarterback-led. We get the signal from the sideline, and we have to give it to every person on the field,” Adamson explained. “We have to give it to the receivers first, and, simultaneously, we’re telling the o-line what to do. At the same time we have to be looking at the coverage and what that means to us. It’s just a lot of moving parts, but at the end of the day, we get to control it; we get to be in charge. If we see something, we get to make the check. It’s hard to get used to it, but once you do, it’s amazing. As a quarterback, you love it.”
Outside of a trip to the beach over the July 4 weekend, Adamson has been working out. He said the first summer workout was May 28, and there are three more weeks left before the start of the Golden Eagles’ summer camp.
“All the running that we do and all the lifting we do, we’ve all gotten stronger and faster,” Adamson said. “It’s hard when you do it, but I can start to see the results. I feel heavy, but at the same time, I feel stronger and I can throw the ball harder. Going from last year to now is a totally different feel. If I could take myself now and go back to my senior year in high school, it would be a huge change. How I perceive football, I just feel better, physically, mentally. I feel like a lot of that has made a difference.”
Hitting the books
Thanks to all the work in the summer, Adamson is a semester ahead in school. He has already started taking a few business classes, his major, and knows that things will get tougher academically.
“With football, you have the help of academic counselors and tutors. As freshmen, we have mandatory study hall. It’s a time designated to do homework,” Adamson said. “I think that really helped, and it helped all of us. It’s not really the resources you have in high school so I’m fortunate enough to have it now.”
Southern Miss will travel to play at Alabama the third week of the season, but Adamson said that wasn’t the game he was most looking forward to.
“Alabama is going to be a huge game, but it is Mississippi State that means the most for me in the season opener,” Adamson said. “It’s still in Mississippi, and I’ve got a bunch of buddies that go to State. Being from Oxford, I grew up hating State, so that makes it fun, too. It allows us to see what we’re going to be about this year. We can let it set the tone, and we definitely need to come out and give it everything we’ve got because it’s going to be the precursor of the season.”