Quarterback Situation: What Now?

Trailing 23-6 at halftime, the Gamecocks needed a spark. It came in a familiar but surprising face. Blake Mitchell trotted onto the field and played in what Coach Steve Spurrier described as the best half of football any quarterback of his has ever played... until the last pass.



Mitchell was 15-21-1, while throwing his first two touchdown passes of the year to Kenny McKinley and Sidney Rice.

Thanks to the unbelievable performance by Mitchell, Spurrier wasted no time in naming Mitchell the starter for the Florida game next Saturday. As a precaution, Spurrier has also stated that Syvelle Newton will remain at quarterback as Mitchell's backup.

Now we must take a look at what this means for the Gamecocks for the remainder of the season. Here is the one guarantee – Mitchell will take the first snap next week. After that, the doors are wide open.

Why you ask? Because the one thing that this team has proven is nothing is certain. I've watched every snap Mitchell has ever taken, and what I've learned over the years is that he can pick apart man coverage, but Mitchell has a tendency to throw picks when facing zone coverage. Arkansas played mostly man coverage until they realized the only way they could stop Mitchell was to mix in some zone. It worked.

Newton, on the other hand, does much better against zone, because for the most part, accuracy is not the most important aspect. Zone coverage also leaves more holes for quarterbacks to run through.

As much as I'd like to believe that Mitchell will lead this team to an 8-4 record, Florida and Clemson are going to throw a lot of zone coverage at him since that's what each team does best.

I now believe that you will see both Newton and Mitchell at some point the rest of the year. However, now Coach Spurrier will have the option of going to one or the other with more confidence than ever before.

Let's also give credit where credit is due. Spurrier has this option because of the improvement of the offensive line. No they're not great, but they've come a long way since the beginning of the season. Mitchell's performance was provided by the big uglies up front.

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