COLUMBIA - South Carolina has completed a full week of preseason camp and one thing is more certain that ever - Dylan Thompson is by far the best quarterback to lead the Gamecocks into a 2014 season that is filled with high expectations.
The one burning question that might linger all the way until kickoff against Texas A&M on Aug. 28 is who the No. 2 guy will be.
Redshirt freshman Connor Mitch seems to be the odds-on favorite at this point with the unlikely duo of sophomore Perry Orth and true freshman Michael Scarnecchia battling for the third spot. Quarterback coach G.A. Mangus likes the way all three are competing.
"They're all doing pretty well," Mangus said. "Connor and Perry have gotten a bunch of reps and I'm very pleased with the progress they made over the summer. They had good summers and have showed a lot of progress from the spring time to the summer. It's good to see but we have a long way to go."
That leaves Brendan Nosovitch, the only quarterback other than Thompson that has actual game-experience, as the outsider. The redshirt sophomore is mulling transferring after finding himself fourth on the depth chart early in camp. He was allowed to miss practice on Thursday but returned on Friday after having a couple of meetings with Steve Spurrier. He didn't receive any reps at quarterback during the 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 portion of the Friday morning workout but did play tight end and slot receiver.
The decision on whether Nosovitch transfers or stays with South Carolina will be dependent on if he wants to remain a quarterback. He gave every indication during Media Day last Sunday that he wanted to help the team anyway possible, but his ultimate goal is to remain at quarterback.
"The main goal is to play quarterback here one day, but if I'm going to get some time on the field, that's great," Nosovitch said of the possible position switch. "Obviously, (fourth is) not where I want to be. There's still three weeks left of camp so I'm going to go out and prove myself."
Mitch, who has two spring practices under his belt after enrolling in January 2013, has taken the lead for the backup spot in the first eight days of practice. He has made several solid throws into tight coverage and has developed a good rapport with the receivers as his time has increased. The improvement he made over the spring and summer has been impressive considering he probably came out of spring as the No. 4 guy before steadily moving up the ladder.
The 6-3 right-hander threw for more than 12,000 yards and 153 touchdowns at Wakefield High in Raleigh to rank No. 2 all-time in the North Carolina high school record book. He likes the work he's put in but isn't ready to anoint himself just yet.
"That's not up to me, that's for the coaches to decide," Mitch said. "I'm just going to try and get better each play and move the ball down the field."
Mangus believes all the younger guys still have time to make a move. South Carolina will hold an open scrimmage at 10 a.m. Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium and has another one scheduled for the following Saturday. He considers each one of those an open tryout to earn the No. 2 spot behind Thompson.
"They have to get out there and play and make mistakes and learn from them," Mangus said. "They all have gotten a lot of reps so far, but once we get out here in a live scrimmage and let them go play, that will help. We'll see how it all shakes out shortly."
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