Monday, September 17, 2012

QB “controversies” are sometimes good

Dylan Thompson

There is no question that last year’s quarterback dilemma in Columbia was costly.  I admit I was very vocal in support of Stephen Garcia and openly fretted about the Connor Shaw era.  I still think all but one of Garcia’s “offenses” were either set-ups or minor nothings.  But it happened, we ended up losing a home conference game due to the distraction and we lost the SEC East as a result.  

What appears to be developing now with Dylan Thompson and Shaw is much, much different and will end up helping this year’s team.  Shaw is acknowledged by all parties as the starting quarterback and he earned that role.  #14 is “too little not to love” and gets all the “gutsy, courageous” type of terms showered on him.  Shaw has only lost 1 game as a starter and has been under center for most of the Gamecocks’ 14-2 run. 
But after sustaining what is turning into a problem injury at Vanderbilt, Shaw’s ability to extend a defense and pitch the ball around the park is in serious question.  What I sensed from most Gamecock fans after Vandy was fear BECAUSE we didn’t have a backup option at QB.  We have games against Missouri, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida still on the schedule.  Logic dictates that if our starting QB cannot throw it around due to an injury, these team  ARE going to stop our running game and dare us to throw.  

And that is what East Carolina and UAB did the last two weeks.  They were willing to leave themselves open to deep balls, but they just sold completely out to stop us from running the football.  Enter Dylan Thompson, whose first, second and third instincts seem to be to throw it deep.  He has looked like a kid in a candy store, racking up big numbers through the air and allowing the garnet and black featherheads to breathe a bit.  

Connor Shaw
Now there is no question that Shaw is a better runner than Thompson.  I might could even keep up with #17 for about 10 yards in a sprint.  But at least we keep three or four option available in the arsenal until Shaw is fully healed.  Some folks are quietly whispering that there could be another “controversy” developing for the role as head signal-caller but I don’t see that.  Shaw, if healthy, is still Carolina’s best option at QB.  This will ESPECIALLY hold true when we run into nastier, faster defenses down the road.  We don’t get to play ECU, Clemson and UAB every week in the SEC.  But in the meantime it is nice to know that we have a capable backup in the wings.  

So unlike last season’s migraine, the current “controversy” ends up helping the Gamecocks in a big way.  Bring on Mizzou!

(One other note:  I had a good week in the Claws vs. Paws against my buddy Willie Powell at Old Willie still leads, but I am back on track and closing the gap.)

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!  

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