So, another day, another "quarterback controversy" piece about the South Carolina Gamecocks.
This one hopefully comes off a bit different than what has been printed lately. I've seen some well--thought-out perspectives on the topic, and I've also seen some of the most insane drivel in the history of sporting drivel (a message board suggesting moving Connor Shaw to wide receiver sticks out for me) regarding the dynamic Gamecock duo.
Here's the truth about the subject; the unequivocal, unquestionable, honest-to-goodness truth.
You ready for it?
There is NO controversy about the quarterback position for the South Carolina Gamecocks. There is no controversy when you have two amazing players that can step in and make plays. That's like saying Alabama has a "linebacker controversy" or LSU has a "running back controversy."
The only controversy is what the fans of the program have made up. They pick a side and stick by it regardless of the appropriateness of it. Bashing one quarterback while trying to promote another from the same team just won’t cut it.
I'm here to provide you some light in this dark time. A few years ago, the Gamecocks were rolling with Blake Mitchell, Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia. That was supposed to be a controversial time.
Now, there are two bright winners on the roster...which has somehow divided the fanbase.
Guess what? You can be a fan of both. It's OK. It isn't cheating.
Rant aside, there is a logical way to handle this situation, and I have a feeling it will be the way it is played out by the "Head Ball Coach" Steve Spurrier himself.
Going into 2013, you have two established All-SEC-caliber signal-callers in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson. You have a talented, yet inexperienced player in Brendan Nosovitch. Then there's the big recruiting prize of Connor Mitch coming in as a true freshman.
Here's how it should work: Connor Shaw is the starter. He should be the starter until one of three things happens:
1. He graduates.
2. He gets seriously injured.
3. He starts playing poorly on a consistent (more than one half of football) basis.
Again, a player who is 17-3 as a starter with 32 touchdowns versus 17 interceptions and a passer rating of 151 over the course of his career has no need to sit. Add his 1,125 career rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, and you have a player that has accounted for 43 touchdowns in roughly two years of play.
He's also the team's leader. The players and coaches love and respect him. He's your leader, he's your rock and he has earned his place as a starter, even if he's been outplayed at times by Dylan Thompson.
Luckily for everyone, Thompson is a different style of quarterback. He's athletic but more of a pocket passer. He deserves to play and play often. He will.
Shaw should get about three-fifths of a game, while Dylan should get two-fifths.
Yes, I am suggesting that the Gamecocks go with the two-quarterback system full time. If one of them catches fire, you keep them in the game. However, by rotating them, you keep Connor Shaw healthier and allow Thompson to continue to grow as a quarterback.
Nosovitch becomes a good insurance policy and continues to learn under two great quarterbacks.
As much as fans want Connor Mitch to come in and be Dan Marino, he needs to redshirt without any questions asked.
In 2014, Thompson is the unquestioned starter. Mitch and Nosovitch fight it out for the No. 2 spot. If either one proves themselves to be worthy, they may earn some playing time.
In 2015, I will be hopeful that we can have a Mitch/Nosovitch discussion very similar to the Shaw/Thompson one we're having now.
Relax guys... this is a good issue to have. Let's relax and not bash the "other quarterback." Enjoy the wins that have been provided by the excellent play of both Thompson and Shaw.
It's a great time to be a Gamecock.