Why a Two-Quarterback System Will Work at South Carolina
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As the old saying goes, "if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks."
Unless you're Steve Spurrier.
The Head Ball Coach made a habit of playing musical quarterbacks during an incredible 12-year run from 1990-2001 at Florida that saw his teams win six SEC championships and the 1996 National Championship.
Since taking over at South Carolina before the 2005 season, that has been toned down a bit.
Sure, Blake Mitchell and Chris Smelley rotated a bit during the early years of Spurrier's South Carolina tenure as did Stephen Garcia and Connor Shaw in 2010.
The 2013 season could bring more of the same, and that's a good thing if you're a Gamecocks fan.
Dylan Thompson replaced Shaw last season when Shaw missed time with various injures and played well. The rising junior completed 66-of-127 passes for 1,027 yards, 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions, including a 310-yard performance against intra-state rival Clemson to close out the regular season.
The two successfully shared snaps in South Carolina's 33-28 win over Michigan, which was the unofficial start to one of the most intriguing position battles this offseason in the SEC.
With Shaw sitting out spring practice recovering from foot surgery, Thompson is the guy this spring in Columbia. However the battle shakes out in fall camp, the coaching staff is comfortable with either player.
“I think all of us are more comfortable with the fact that we’ve got two good quarterbacks who can win us football games," quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus told the Anderson (S.C.) Independent Mail prior to spring break. "I know I am. It hasn’t always been that way. They’ve both proven they can win and I think the entire football team has got confidence in both of them.”
It's a bit overly simplistic, but since both players can do different things, they both can succeed as signal-callers in the South Carolina offense in 2013.
Shaw is more of a dual-threat, and even though Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds are both more than capable of being stars in the SEC, adding that extra dimension in the running game adds a little bit of spice to the Gamecock offense.
Plus, it's not like the guy cannot pass. He completed 67.5 percent of his passes last season including 20-straight passes in a 20-for-21 performance versus Missouri last September.
I know, it's Missouri. But it's a big accomplishment to complete 20-straight passes against air, much less 11 defenders.
Thompson is the gunslinger of the duo. He played well when tossed into the fire last season, and earning first-team snaps all spring will only make him more comfortable in the offense.
Is he a dual-threat? No. But he's not awful running the ball, and can—at the very least—stay mobile in the pocket long enough to allow his receivers to come open.
Both players have in different aspects of the game but are effective enough in their weaknesses to allow Spurrier to keep the entire playbook at his disposal.
All good things for South Carolina.
Will Thompson oust Shaw as the No. 1 quarterback in Columbia?
We won't know that until this summer. In reality, it probably doesn't matter all that much.
Barring injury, both are going to receive significant snaps. That may be all it takes to get South Carolina back to the Georgia Dome and perhaps further.
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