Chris Smelley's Standout Performance Creates QB Controversy for South Carolina

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2008

Thursday night's 34-0 drubbing of North Carolina State at the hands of South Carolina looked all and swell for Gamecock fans, right? Not so fast.

The deceiving final score didn't tell nearly the whole story, as the Gamecocks overcame four interceptions, all thrown by starting quarterback Tommy Beecher.

Beecher looked flustered in the pocket and threw far too many balls up for grab, relying on his typical stellar SEC defense to smother the Wolfpack in the first half, allowing South Carolina to take a 3-0 lead into halftime.

After Beecher chucked up his fourth interception early in the third quarter, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier turned over the reins to sophomore Chris Smelley.

After Smelley entered the game, the Gamecock offense went from stagnant to dynamic, scoring 31 points in the second half to claim its first victory of the young season.

Smelley certainly made a strong case to Spurrier for the starting job in Week Two against SEC opponent Vanderbilt.  The Tuscaloosa, Alabama native, who started six games last season, went five-for-five with 92 yards and two touchdowns, which urged even the ESPN announcers to take a stand for him starting against the Commodores.

If Spurrier chooses to go with the more electrifying Smelley, he will without a doubt see consistent production on the offensive side of the ball.

Beecher had been on a relatively long leash prior to his immense struggles tonight, and despite Beecher receiving the majority of snaps in the preseason, Smelley's in-game production is hard to argue against.

There's nothing worse than working with a two-quarterback system, especially one that doesn't feature a distinctive runner and passer, but rather two gunslingers.

It doesn't get any easier from here on out either, as the Gamecocks face the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs in the third week of the season.

Whichever way Spurrier chooses, expect a fair amount of displeasure among some SC fans.