TAMPA, Fl -- As the South Carolina defense prepares for what will uncertainly be a diversified attack with both Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson on the field at the same time, the South Carolina offense is dancing their way through their own quarterback version of musical chairs.
Junior Connor Shaw, who started a total of 10 games this season for the Gamecocks accounting for 2,071 total yards, 18 total touchdowns and a completion percentage of 67.3 percent, was replaced twice due to injury by sophomore Dylan Thompson, including a major season ending rivalry game win on the road at Clemson.
Thompson, who also started in South Carolina's win over East Carolina, tallied some impressive numbers in his two spot starts combining to go 44 for 78 totaling 640 yards through the air as well as six passing touchdowns.
With both quarterbacks now healthy and playing well in practice, coach Steve Spurrier is unsure who will take the first snap and majority of snaps against Michigan.
"He (Thompson) played well, played very well against Clemson," said Spurrier. "We just feel like he deserves a chance to play also. Connor's foot is 100 percent well and he's ready to go. I told someone the other day I don't know which quarterback will play most of the game."
"I hope it doesn't turn into one of these ‘well you messed up, you go in, well you messed up, you go back in' --- I'm hoping it's not going to turn into that. We just really believe both these guys deserve a chance to play and maybe the guy that's playing the best continues playing. I don't know how else to do it right now except that way. But again, we plan on one guy playing most of the game."
Thompson (6'3, 212 pounds) and Shaw (6'1, 207 pounds) have similar skill sets, both demonstrating the ability to run the football.
Running backs healthy
South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore's gruesome season-ending injury in the Gamecocks 38-35 win over Tennessee sent the bruising talent's future into a bit of an unknown state, and as a result the same effect took place with the running back situation in Columbia.
With Lattimore now rehabbing, set to take the long road back to recovery in hopes of securing an NFL contract, South Carolina is putting together pieces of what once was a consistent and impactful rushing attack.
Taking the bulk of the carries for South Carolina in the absence of Lattimore have been senior Kenny Miles and freshman Mike Davis. Both Miles and Davis were very productive with the extra carries, but injuries to both backs forced Spurrier and the Gamecocks to slide wide receiver Bruce Ellington over to the tailback spot in the win over Clemson.
Now a month since South Carolina's last game, Spurrier said Saturday that everyone is ready to go for the Outback Bowl.
"Kenny was running around well the last couple days," said Spurrier. "Kenny should be fine. Mike Davis and Shon Carson are ready to play also, so we've got three ready to go. We should not have to put Bruce back there to run the ball like we did the last game. He was the last healthy guy to play running back."
To watch video of Spurrier's Saturday press conference, press play below.
Two QB's in play for South Carolina (w/video)
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