Connor Shaw vs. Dylan Thompson: An Unexpected QB Controversy [UPDATED]

9/18/2012 UPDATE:  Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier said in his weekly press conference on Tuesday that Connor Shaw will start against Missouri.

For the first time in several years, it looked like the South Carolina Gamecocks would not have to deal with a quarterback controversy.

But after QB Connor Shaw had to leave Saturday’s game versus UAB with a re-injury to his right shoulder, it appears that’s where Gamecocks’ head coach Steve Spurrier has found himself.

Dylan Thompson has provided the Gamecocks with an aerial assault that has not been seen since early 2011, in the last two weeks.  However, one could argue that was against two significant lesser teams.

Shaw, who admitted Saturday that he has a small fracture in his injured shoulder, is back in a day-to-day mode, and no one will know his availability until later this week.  This will probably be something that goes on the rest of this season.

That puts the spotlight on Dylan Thompson, who had only played mop-up duty until replacing Shaw against Vanderbilt, and earning the start against East Carolina.

Thompson has proven he can put up great numbers against lesser teams, even making it look like at times the old “Fun n’ Gun” Spurrier days from Florida.  But the big question will become whether or not that translates into SEC play.

This is where the history of Steve Spurrier factors in to where the Gamecocks go from here.  That is a long history of rotating quarterbacks in a game.

South Carolina fans remember the back and forth game between Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia against Arkansas a few years ago.  But Spurrier also did it at Florida with Jesse Palmer and Rex Grossman, or even going back to the rotation of Doug Johnson and Noah Brindise.

This will probably be the answer to this controversy, depending on Shaw’s health.  Spurrier’s best option is to go with whoever has the hot hand, whichever player is moving the offense more efficiently and effectively.  The opponent will also make a difference.

But this is still Shaw’s job to lose.  He is the guy who has proven that he can win the big game in the SEC.  Thompson has merely put up great numbers against significantly weaker teams.

Both quarterbacks have different skills, but you have to go with the guy who got you mentioned in the national championship picture, unless Shaw’s health or performance, gives you reason to play somebody else.

Also, when in doubt, you’ve got a decent (sarcasm) running back in the back-field.


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