Forensic Footballer: It Was The Only Option

All Hail Blake Mitchell! He's earned the early nod and has been named starter for the Central Florida game by Spurrier only three days into practice. He's the man. Did you expect anything different? It was the smart move ...

... and Steve Spurrier is a smart man.

What other option was there?

Mitchell was always going to be the starter to begin this season. He had what little experience there is among this year's quarterback corp. And he bolstered his position with a steady commitment over the summer during the voluntary workouts.

It was the only option other than waiting another week or two to make the call. The same call.

In naming Blake the starter in week one, now the focus will turn towards preparing him for his big debut as the starter, rather than allowing the media to play the speculation game during the coming couple of weeks.

Mitchell can do the job. Spurrier even went so far as to tell us that Mitchell was making the throws, that he has the arm, that he is the clear leader of this team.

If he wasn't before, he is now. Every player will read Spurrier's words Friday morning and know that the Ole' Ball Coach has named his representative on the field. That's what quarterbacks are to Spurrier. His protégé. And extension of the man himself.

Everyone is buying in it seems.

The fans on the message boards were supportive as of late Thursday night. And the callers to Phil Kornblut's show will no doubt echo the same. But more importantly, Mitchell's peers were quick to offer their endorsements as well. Both Carlos Thomas and Ko Simpson called Blake "a leader" and declared their happiness for him.

Jonathan Joseph was more to the point.

"It doesn't surprise me,"Joseph told Gamecock Nation. "Blake has worked hard this summer. He has come a long way since spring practice throwing the ball and with his leadership. He's shown us he wants to be the man so it is good to see him get his chance."

Players talk. Locker-room talk gets around faster than a Bobby Wallace run after a catch.

"I like the way Blake delivers the ball," Carlos Thomas added when asked. "His balls are easy for us to catch."

That's important to wide receivers, it goes without saying.

And Spurrier let it be known that it wasn't just him making the call in Mitchell's favor - it was the other coaches as well. This decision was made by committee.

"The coaching staff made a decision today that Blake Mitchell will be our starting quarterback against Central Florida," said Coach Spurrier. It was clear to everybody out here that he's our best guy and by far the best prepared to go. He can make all the throws and he's a good athlete."

By committee. That ends the debate.

Mitchell is already sounding like an experienced starter.

"It was something I wasn't expecting to hear this early in camp," said Mitchell. "I came out here every day, worked hard and gave it my best and I thank Coach for giving me that opportunity."

Thank him in October if you've still got the job Blake. Because you've been given the opportunity early, you'll be expected to perform and improve and lead every minute of every day under Spurrier. He'll tolerate no less, and neither will the fans.

What Blake is about to learn is, that especially at this level, quarterbacks get too much credit when things go right, and too much credit when things go wrong as well.

All eyes are now on Mitchell. ALL eyes.

It was the smart move for Spurrier - but it was also the only move he could have made if you really stop and think about it. And making the only move is sometimes the hardest move there is to make.

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