COLUMBIA, S.C.—The three-ringed circus that is the battle for the backup quarterback spot at South Carolina continues unabated in spring practice.
Brendan Nosovitch, Connor Mitch and walk-on Perry Orth are competing for the backup spot behind established starter Dylan Thompson.
Nosovitch began spring practice at No. 2, but a poor practice on Thursday left him as the odd man out in the competition—so far out it may take him awhile to get back in the hunt.
South Carolina will practice again Friday and hold a full scrimmage on Saturday, and according to coach Steve Spurrier, Nosovitch isn't likely to redeem himself within that time frame.
“No, Nosovitch is not going to be No. 2 after today’s practice or after the scrimmage," Spurrier said. "I think Perry Orth and Connor Mitch are co-No. 2’s. Nosi had a tough time throwing it around today. But he may be better tomorrow."
Mitch, a 247Sports' 4-star recruit who enrolled early and redshirted last season, is going through his second spring practice.
“He was better today," Spurrier said. "Didn't hold the ball, got the ball out of his hands and hit some guys. Maybe he’s coming around. He’s young, but he’s been here a year or so, so he should be coming around a little quicker.”
Spurrier said he likes the way Orth throws the ball.
"Perry throws a good ball," he said. "Perry throws a spiral. Not lot of spirals going on around out here. But Perry throws a good spiral. He can zing it in there. So he’s doing pretty well for a walk-on kid.”
As for poor Nosovitch, at least he can run when he can't hide.
"Brendan struggles some throwing the football," Spurrier said, "but he’s an excellent runner. Don’t tell anybody but he might be our running quarterback."
Damiere Byrd, a returning starter at wide receiver, returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday.
He is recovering from knee surgery.
"He was out here running around," Spurrier said. "He tried to jump in there one-on-one, but we pulled him out. He doesn't need to get in there right now."
Position moves of note
The Gamecocks gave senior walk-on Kyle Morini a look at fullback but have decided to move him back to linebacker.
Gerald Turner, a redshirt freshman who started the spring listed as third team at defensive end, has been moved to fullback.
One player who seems to be adapting to his position switch is Cedrick Cooper.
He was expected to be an impact player at linebacker last season, but nagging injuries kept him out of the mix. Now healthy, he is faring better after moving to defensive end.
"It was so frustrating," Cooper said. "I was talking to myself, talking to my elbow, talking to my knee. I was like, 'Why can't you be right?' But I'm healthy now."
Competition heats up at Spur
Senior Sharrod Golightly, the returning starter at South Carolina's "Spur" linebacker position, has been dinged up a bit with minor injuries.
Sophomore Jordan Diggs has taken the opportunity to push for playing time.
"Jordan has been getting a lot of reps, doing it with confidence, doing a lot of little things right," said linebackers coach Kirk Botkin. "He has been having a good spring thus far. He has done a lot of good things in the practices and he is rotating with Golightly with the ones."
All quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.
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