Aug. 5, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Day two of the South Carolina football team’s preseason camp was held Wednesday morning, with members of the offensive side of the ball speaking to the media afterwards. Head coach Steve Spurrier spoke after practice about the early stages of he and his staff’s evaluation of the team.
“Eventually, all of us coaches say who goes out there first because somebody has to, but the players generally decide if they are the starter or not,” Spurrier said. “Just because they’re a starter doesn’t mean they’re going to play the whole game. As coaches you also have to find out players that practice very well, don’t play well in the games, or don’t practice very well and play super in the games.”
He cited two of his most successful players as an example.
“Danny Wuerffel, if you watched him at practice, his ball would wobble all over the place, but when the game started he was throwing it right straight in there as pretty as anybody I’ve ever seen,” the Head Ball Coach said. “You have to judge a lot of things, but the players themselves will decide out here who becomes a starter.
“Several years ago, we started Connor Shaw up in Charlotte and of course the local media said there was no way he’d ever be as good as Stephen Garcia, remember that guy that used to be here? No way he could ever be as good,” Spurrier continued. “Now Connor Shaw is considered maybe the best quarterback to ever play here.”
Though some may see the race for starting quarterback as tense, sophomore Connor Mitch sees it as a way to bring out the best in each student-athlete.
“Overall we’re happy with the way we’re progressing,” Mitch said, adding that the competition “helps each one of us get better, pushing each other, helping each out if someone needs help.”
Spurrier said he was pleased with the early efforts of fellow quarterback Lorenzo Nunez, saying that the Georgia native “knows a lot more than you would think for a true freshman. He’s learning the offense, he doesn’t just take off, he stands in there and throws it.”
Protecting the quarterback this fall will be an offensive line that brings a wealth of talent from its veterans to its true freshman. Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott mentioned that senior Mike Matulis could be a vital part of the front thanks to his position flexibility.
“He is everything, he can be anything,” Elliott said of Matulis. “I’ve got him working at left guard right now, let’s say if (Mason) Zandi doesn’t develop, (Matulis) goes to right tackle. He’s one of those guys that can play it all for us other than potentially center, and he’s mentioned playing that for us as well. Mike is a guy we can throw in there wherever we like.”
After practice, the Head Ball Coach also announced that quarterback Perry Orth and long snapper Drew Williams have been placed on scholarship due to their tremendous efforts in the summer.
“They both have earned it, they both had excellent summers working out. If you don’t think the workouts in the summer are important, those two guys were right with the best of them and that was part of the reason,” Spurrier said. “They’re going to contribute, and Drew has already been contributing and we think Perry will contribute in the next several years.”
Day three of closed practice will be held Thursday beginning at 9 a.m.