Spring football recap, storylines: Gamecocks' quarterbacks

GoGamecocks staff reportsApril 22, 2013 

USC quarterback Dylan Thompson

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com

A review and recap of how South Carolina's quarterbacks fared this spring (the fifth in a series of positional reviews of the Gamecocks):

Top performers

Brendan Nosovitch, Dylan Thompson

Spring awards

... Most improved quarterback: Brendan Nosovitch

... Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Representative of USC: Connor Shaw

... Ernest Brooks MVP – Clemson Game: Dylan Thompson

Projected depth chart

1-Connor Shaw (Sr.)
2-Dylan Thompson (RS Jr.)
3-Brendan Nosovitch (RS Fr.)
4-Connor Mitch (Fr.)

What we learned

1. Shaw and Thompson will both play this year

The two-quarterback formula worked for the Gamecocks in 2012. Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw have said they both have the right attitudes to make it work again in 2013. Shaw missed the spring after having foot surgery but is expected to be at full strength this summer. As long as both stay healthy, Shaw and Thompson will take almost all of the snaps in 2013.

2. Thompson made the most of increased snaps

With Shaw out, Thompson took more reps this spring and, in turn, his leadership took a step forward. He's made huge strides since struggling against Vanderbilt in the 2012 opener. In fact, quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus said he's seen growth in Thompson's confidence and leadership since the Clemson and Michigan games. Expect that to continue this summer with Thompson's dedicated offseason habits.

3. Nosovitch made strides in his first spring

Redshirt freshman Brendan Nosovitch was consistent more times than not this spring as he took the most reps of his young college career. He also posted a solid line in the spring game (11-for-15, 146 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions). True freshman Connor Mitch should redshirt. Though Nosovitch has done enough to be No. 3 on the depth chart, he may not see much playing time behind Shaw and Thompson.

Questions moving forward

1. What will the quarterback timeshare look like?

Both Shaw and Thompson will play in 2013, Steve Spurrier has said since the 2012 season ended. Each played in 11 games last year, with Shaw starting 11 games and Thompson starting two. It could take a few games this year to know how the reps will be split. All signs are that Shaw will return from missing spring practice and take the first snaps of the 2013 season. How many Thompson gets is the bigger question.

2. Who will the No. 3 guy be?

All signs point to it being Nosovitch, who has the most experience though he's been at USC less than a year. Coaches want to redshirt Mitch, who says it's still his job to be ready to play this year if called upon. Walk-on Perry Orth showed flashes in spring practice but didn't light things up in the spring game (7-for-15, 125 yards, one interception).

They said it

Steve Spurrier on playing two quarterbacks: (FoxSports) "We won't have a problem playing two. It's my job to make sure we've got the right one in at the right time."

Connor Shaw: (ESPN) "We've had a great spring ball of our quarterbacks developing. We've got a lot of younger guys. Of course we have Dylan with the most gametime experience with helping the young guys along."

Shaw on the injury: (ESPN) "I'm a few months out. It's a day by day process, going to rehab twice a day. Of course it's frustrating on the sidelines. I'm taking the time to get more of a coach's perspective and get my foot ready."

Shaw on both QBs playing: (FoxSports) "A lot of people don't understand how well two quarterbacks in two-quarterback system can play. The main reason for us is, we're so much alike. It's a great friendship. We're two good leaders and teammates look up to us."

Dylan Thompson: “We kind of want to reach that next level. You can’t be satisfied because, if you’re aiming for the same place you were last year, you probably won’t get there. You’ve got to have higher goals. Individually, it starts there, and as a team, you’ve got to have higher goals and work to achieve them.”

Thompson on both QBs playing: Coach Spurrier “has told me to expect to play a lot. Whatever that means, it means, but I think he has confidence in both myself and Connor that we are not going to look at it like a selfish thing. I know Connor is here and he knows I am here, and we are going to work together.”

G.A. Mangus: “Connor has earned the right to be the guy, and Dylan has earned the right to play. All that stuff works out. We don’t worry about that stuff around here. They are two good players and at some point in time in the season we are going to need them both.”

Brendan Nosovitch: "I know my plays a lot better. Everything is better. I feel like when fall comes around I will be ready to play."

Connor Mitch: "I'm learning everything quickly, especially the playbook and the defenses. ... That's what every quarterback has to do. You never know what could happen. You always have to be ready to go."

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