Steve Spurrier will leave Florida with a question he didn't have when he arrived in Gainesville for this weekend's game – who is the starting quarterback for the Gamecocks?
South Carolina's Connor Shaw was lifted at halftime for backup Dylan Thompson after failing to give the Gamecocks the spark they needed in the first half of the Gamecocks loss to the Florida Gators. Shaw was 9-of-20 for 72 yards and had negative two yards rushing on nine attempts. Shaw was sacked twice in the first half and routinely held onto the football on too many occasions instead of getting rid of the football.
Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun mentioned this during the game on Saturday night:
Spurrier told me Wednesday that he told Shaw he'd pull him if he didn't throw the ball on passing plays. He Terry Deaned him.— Pat Dooley (@pat_dooley) October 20, 2012
It appears the Head Ball Coach was good on his word because as soon as the Gamecocks stepped on the field for the first time on offense in the third quarter, South Carolina had backup quarterback Dylan Thompson in the game. Coach Spurrier had this to say on the switch from Shaw to Thompson.
"Dylan (Thompson) didn't have a lot of opportunities there at the end. I thought we had some early in the first quarter. We just over threw, we under threw, it just didn't work, so we thought we would give Dylan and opportunity, but what we do next week - I'm not sure yet."
Spurrier's last quote says it all – he's unsure what he will do at this time when it comes to his starting quarterback. A question that Spurrier never envisioned he would have this year with Connor Shaw has now turned into the yearly question Spurrier has had since becoming the Gamecocks head coach nearly eight years ago.
After the game, Spurrier admitted that he thought there were some missed opportunities in the first half. He didn't know whether or not the protection was bad for Connor Shaw that forced him out of the pocket, but Spurrier saw that there were several occasions where Shaw had someone downfield and he just completely missed the receiver.
Spurrier may not know where the offensive line performed well or not, but Marcus Lattimore has an opinion on it.
"The offensive line did a great job today, and that's overlooked."
South Carolina's miscues in the first half holding onto the football put the Gamecocks behind and forced them away from their normal game plan – running the football. Connor Shaw admitted that it's something the Gamecocks need to focus on in the future.
"It hurts when you don't establish a running game early, especially for us since we've relied on that so much in the past," Shaw said. "I think it's important that we start doing that in the future."
It may be important, but Shaw may not be the one to right the ship in the upcoming game against Tennessee. Dylan Thompson spoke to the media after the game about the possible quarterback competition in Columbia.
"I don't really know," said Thompson when asked about a quarterback competition. "I have complete confidence in Connor as well as Coach Spurrier, so I know the best decision will be made."
Thompson finished Saturday's game by going 8-for-20 for 83 yards and one interception.
Whether it's Thompson, Shaw or someone else, the Gamecocks need to find someone who gives them the best chance to win. Both Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson provide different skill sets that can be beneficial for this offense. It's just unsure right now what will help get the Gamecocks over their current struggles.
One thing that could help would be some confidence.
"Confidence is a big thing," said Thompson. "When we have it we're really good, and when we don't we're not very good. So I feel like we should do whatever we've got to do to get our confidence back and that mojo back."
Confidence can go a long way. South Carolina needs to do everything they can to regain their lost confidence, and more, to get back to their winning ways.