If South Carolina quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson are going to be on the field at the same time this fall, no one is willing to talk about it.
There has been plenty of speculation that USC head coach Steve Spurrier will use Shaw, who has rushed for more than 1,100 yards during his career, and Thompson together in certain offensive packages.
But players and coaches alike are guarding that information like it’s a top-secret document.
“You never know what we’ll do with (Shaw) and (Thompson),” said South Carolina quarterback coach G.A. Mangus. “If we tell you guys (the media), we might as well tell the whole world.”
The 6-1, 210-pound Shaw has ripped off plenty of long runs during his career and is considered the better athlete of the two. At 6-3, 220 pounds, Thompson is more of a pocket-passing quarterback.
“They both are good athletes,” Mangus said. “Connor could probably play five different positions. He played five different positions in high school. When you have that kind of athlete, it’s fun to mess around with stuff.”
Thompson couldn’t resist joking with the media about getting a snap at wide receiver.
“We haven’t done that yet. You’ve got to remember that I’m a limited athlete, so probably not a good idea to split me out wide,” Thompson said with a chuckle.
Shaw having good camp
Steve Spurrier is rarely happy with his quarterbacks, and this preseason has been no different.
Spurrier goes out of his way to compliment walk-ons over more established quarterbacks like Shaw and Thompson.
Shaw has been around the program long enough to just shrug off such comments that Spurrier makes to the media.
“Connor has had a great camp and he had one of his better practices today,” Mangus said. “Connor made some throws down the field with tight coverages in small windows that shows a lot of progress. Connor is going to be fine.”
Shaw had some back pain that limited his throwing during last weekend’s scrimmage.
“I just had a little back spasm. It wasn’t anything major. I went for treatment and it was fine after that. It was nothing serious,” Shaw said. “I’ve been getting both my feet taped up for practice for precautionary reasons, but my foot feels good.”
Thompson started and won two games last year, throwing the game-winning touchdown pass against Michigan in the bowl game. Spurrier and Mangus have said that Shaw will start against North Carolina and there’s little talk of any quarterback controversy during preseason camp.
“We’ve got two proven winners at quarterbacks,” Shaw said.
OL starters playing well
South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott knew he had a veteran group returning on the offensive line.
The Gamecocks have four returning starters, and Elliott has been pleased with how the starters have performed so far in preseason camp.
“It’s been a real productive camp,” Elliott said. “The first team is doing really well competing out here every day. It’s really a blessing having guys who know what they’re doing today and have the right mindset to get things accomplished. So we’re moving forward.”
The only new starter is at center where Cody Waldrop takes over for T.J. Johnson, but Elliott has been pleased with his progress.
“Every day he sees something that is different that he puts in that brain and files back and brings it out the next day,” Elliott said. “The more reps he sees, the more stunts and fronts he is going to see. He’s preparing like he’s the man, and he’s done an exceptional job so far.”
Brandon Shell, a former Goose Creek High School standout, has continued to build on a strong 2012 season, Elliott said.
“I think Brandon has grown by leaps and bounds,” Elliott said. “I’m feeling pretty good about Brandon. Any time you can have the development of a guy who goes out there and plays against quality opponents and sees different pass rushers each week, it pays dividends. Nothing is going to surprise Brandon this year, and I think he’s real comfortable and set in his ways at right tackle.”
Those who remain sidelined include Bruce Ellington (hamstring), Rory Anderson (hamstring), Chaz Sutton (foot), Cedrick Cooper (elbow), Kyle Morini (elbow), Gerald Turner (ankle), James King (foot), Mike Matulis (shoulder) and Cody Gibson (knee).
“Cody (Gibson) should be out here the next week or so,” Elliott said. “I don’t worry about them until they show up on the field. I try not to deal with the trainers.”
South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) throws a pass during practice in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, August 3, 2013. (C. Michael Bergen/The State/MCT)×
University of South Carolina's Brandon Shell prepares to run through drills during practice.×
South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson, left, avoids the sack by Clemson's Malliciah Goodman (97) to complete a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)×