Spurrier Names Beecher #1 QB Going into Fall

The Laurens County Gamecock Club had not had a head Gamecock football coach speak at their meeting in over a quarter century until Tuesday night. When Steve Spurrier took the podium, he gave the crowd from Laurens, Greenwood, and Abbeville counties some big news. The best known quarterback coach in the country had chosen a new #1 quarterback to enter fall practice – Tommy Beecher.

The biggest battle of the South Carolina spring practices has resulted in the challenger coming out on top – for now. Quarterbacks Chris Smelley and Tommy Beecher were in a tightly matched contest for the #1 spot in Steve Spurrier's offense all spring. Smelley was perceived to have the upper hand because of his extensive playing time and having started six games this past season. But Spurrier announced to a packed house at the Laurens County Gamecock Club meeting Tuesday night that Tommy Beecher will go into the fall practices as the #1 quarterback.

"If we had to play tomorrow, Tommy Beecher would be our quarterback," Spurrier said. "Tommy Beecher has out-performed Chris in the scrimmages and in the game last week. Now, as they go through the summer, they'll go through scrimmages and pre-season - who knows what can happen. But right now, Tommy Beecher would be our starter."

Spurrier noted three aspects about Beecher that he liked – his mobility, his experience in Spurrier's system, and his intelligence. "Tommy's a young man who can run around real good," he said. "He's going into his fourth year here. He was red shirted his first year, and as a coach you love to have a fourth/fifth year quarterback. So Tommy Beecher can throw the ball and run around. He's the smartest guy on the team. He won the GPA highest on the team second and third year in a row. So, Tommy's got a chance to be a real good player, he really does. So we'll see how that works out."

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