Sports

Gamecock Arms Race Is On …

WILL CONNOR MITCH LAND THE STARTING JOB AT SOUTH CAROLINA? || By FITSNEWS ||  Did the University of South Carolina football program see its quarterback of the future at last weekend’s spring game?  Or are the Gamecocks still awaiting his arrival on campus? We don’t know … but one thing…

WILL CONNOR MITCH LAND THE STARTING JOB AT SOUTH CAROLINA?

|| By FITSNEWS ||  Did the University of South Carolina football program see its quarterback of the future at last weekend’s spring game?  Or are the Gamecocks still awaiting his arrival on campus?

We don’t know … but one thing is for damn sure: We’re glad to be talking about something other than South Carolina’s disastrous 2014 season (and the recruiting implosion which followed).

Redshirt sophomore Connor Mitch is the clear frontrunner at the quarterback position coming out of spring practice … although he’s thrown a total of six collegiate passes (going 2 for 4 for 19 yards against Furman and 0 for 2 against South Alabama last year).  In fact returning All-SEC wide receiver Pharoh Cooper has more collegiate passing yards and touchdown strikes than the Gamecocks’ three-deep quarterback depth chart.

Still, Mitch – a 6-foot-3, 223-pound signal caller from Raleigh, N.C. – threw for 4,661 yards and 63 touchdowns as a high school senior in 2012, completing 62 percent of his passes.  Impressive?  Indeed.

In fact, that’s 3,800 yards (and 61 touchdowns) better than Kennesaw, Georgia native Lorenzo Nunez threw for during his senior season at Harrison High School in 2014.

Also Mitch – like most big-time college quarterbacks – enrolled early at South Carolina to get a jump start on learning the offensive playbook.  Nunez did not – even though Spurrier and quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus strongly encouraged him to do so.

Nonetheless, buzz is building about the 6-foot-3, 195-pound quarterback – who ran for 1,193 yards and fourteen touchdowns during his senior season in addition to his paltry passing totals.

Part of the Nunez buzz is due to Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier – who continues to tout the incoming freshman in describing South Carolina’s wide open 2015 quarterback battle.  Spurrier has made it clear Nunez will compete for the starting job when he enrolls  – and Nunez stuck with the Gamecocks based on the assumption he would not be asked to switch positions.

But the real reason for the buzz isn’t one player’s ability versus the other’s, it is the evolution of the college game … especially its evolution in power conferences like the SEC which are dominated by blazing fast, pro-style defenses.

Such defenses have created the need for quarterbacks who do more than just drop back in the pocket and deliver accurate strikes downfield.

“Dual threat” quarterbacks – or field generals who can make plays with their feet as well as their arms – are critical in neutralizing team speed on defense.

Connor Shaw was a dual threat.  Dylan Thompson was not.  And while Thompson’s offense was by no means to blame for the Gamecocks’ 2014 woes, it’s safe to say a quarterback who can move is going to get a much closer look than one who cannot.

And Nunez runs the forty-yard dash in a blazing fast 4.4 seconds …

Just look at Deshaun Watson, the true freshman quarterback who ended Clemson University’s five-year run of futility against its arch rival (with a torn ACL, no less).

Nunez didn’t come close to putting up the sort of numbers Watson did during his high school career, but he remains the highest-rated quarterback Spurrier has signed since landing Stephen Garcia in 2006.

Here’s a video which includes some highlights from Nunez’s senior season …

(Click to play)

(Vid: Via)

Pic: Travis Bell Photography

***

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17 comments

Glory days April 13, 2015 at 3:16 pm

First football and now baseball. Back to the trenches for the Gamecocks. I hear the equestrian team is doing pretty well and we do have beach volleyball.

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Educator April 13, 2015 at 3:32 pm

Hurray – all discussion about racism, academic performances, rankings, replacing deans and provost, inadequate class rooms, leaky roofs, corruption in Osborne cease ! Harris circus Maximus is about to start again – the only reason the University of ‘and for’ South Carolina exists – ‘as One’,
The BOT is salivating – or are they drouling again in their collective unconsciousness – hurray baseball and football will distract us again from what needs to be done for another year….

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Truefan April 13, 2015 at 3:46 pm

I know you academic types don’t like president Pastides but your numbers are dwindling : Michael Amiridis (no true gamecock) gone , tony Ambler (warm beer drinker) side lined, ken Riefsnider (never saw him inWilliams Brice) gone, Nano Nazi Vogt (hates Americans) in Australia I think – Pastides took care of these types who thought they were at MIT here. Biggest winner: athletic department – more ‘academics’ will now leave as they se that have not just lost a battle- so keep on whinning while I enjoy baseball and football wins – Go Gamecocks –

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Ernie April 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

I fully agree – these arrogant overpaid profs don’t have the power anymore they had a few years ago and we should get rid of the rest. Keep teachers and make it mandatory form them to go to football and baseball games – if they want to get paid

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GoCocks April 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

I agree with you that Amiridis was too focused on research and now all these engineering and science types lost a big supporter. They need to understand that they are at an SEC school and not in California

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USC Fan April 14, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Baseball has started a downhill run to mediocrity. Started when Holbrook took over. The first test for Tanner as AD will see if he has the guts to fireHolbrook, his first hire. And speaking of AD, Tanner appears to be a “yes” man for the Trustees. At least Hyman made decisions that moved all of the programs forward. Tanner is an adequate caretaker, nothing more. Has the “Peter Principle” been proven once again?

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Garnetblack April 13, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Why are we talking about these losers – most profs at USC are losers otherwise they wouldn’t be here – instead of football?

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E Norma Scok April 13, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Lulz…”Just look at Deshaun Watson, the true freshman quarterback who ended Clemson University’s five-year run of futility against its arch rival (with a torn ACL, no less).”

Who will end USCe 112 year run of futility against its arch rival?

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gundar April 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm

they will not have a decent quarterback , a pathetic defense and we will wait for next year….again

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Squishy123 April 13, 2015 at 7:22 pm

I think USCe should increase enrollment another 20%. They can put seats out in the hallways. Those apartment complex developers are depending on it.

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Apint April 13, 2015 at 8:08 pm

Pastides might just do that….Nero is fiddling while Rome burns

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hold that tiger April 13, 2015 at 9:15 pm

I think 1898 Miss. State wannabe cow tech military school, turned two year degree junior college, turned legislative designated university in 1965, should ask you to resign as their cheerleader.

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Squishy123 April 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm

How long have you been waiting to use that? I think you should have saved it for a better time, now if you use it again you’ll be like Grand Tango and just repeating yourself.

Clemson was a military school and didn’t become a university until 1965? Isn’t around the same time as USCe won their last conference championship in football in that pathetic excuse of a conference?

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Squishy123 April 13, 2015 at 7:23 pm

Hasn’t the two quarterback system already been tried, miserably?

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ThreePalms April 14, 2015 at 8:24 am

Go Cocks! The SEC is the toughest football conference in the NCAA and South Carolina is competitive. That’s something that the Clemson boys and the ACC crowd just can’t over.

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Squishy123 April 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm

I see you bought the Sunshine Pumper 2.0.

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My Take April 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Going thru Gamecock Football: Excellent, Above Average, Average, Below Average

This is based on SEC caliber football not Southern Conference football

Offensive Line-Average
Wide Receivers-Average
Running Backs-Above Average
QB-Below Average

Defensive Line-Above Average-Lewis, Wideman & Sawyer will make a difference
Linebackers-Average
Secondary-Below Average

Special Teams: Below Average

Excellent and Above Average will get you a good season, this team 5-7 if they are lucky, all the QB’s are terrible,
The true freshman Nunez could be starting by week 4 or 5.

That’s my take.

Reply

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