The one thing you know about Steve Spurrier is that he doesn’t beat around the bush; he’ll tell you exactly what’s on his mind, and there’s very little coach-speak from the Head Ball Coach.
South Carolina is entering a transition year. Connor Shaw was continually the most underrated player in the SEC…and maybe the country. The lasting legacy Shaw left at Carolina will be talked about for years to come.
Now, it’s Dylan Thompson’s team, and Spurrier knows that with all the quarterback changes and transition around the league, he can feel great about his situation. Thompson is a fifth-year senior who has had shining and important moments over the last two years, despite being a backup.
In an interview with ESPN, Spurrier wasn’t shy about who his best player is right now: Dylan Thompson. Spurrier said there’s no chance backups Connor Mitch or Brendan Nosovitch will snatch the job away from Thompson in 2014; so, that’s why he didn’t even bother delaying the announcement that Thompson will be his starter immediately following the season.
“It’s not like those other guys are going to challenge him,” Spurrier said. “Plus, he’s our best player. I think he’s by far our best player right now.”
That’s great news for South Carolina, who is looking for its leader after Shaw; someone around whom the team can build an identity with every Saturday. It sounds like Thompson has led the offseason charge for a program that’s recorded three straight 11-win seasons.
All-SEC running back Mike Davis returns, as does a veteran offensive line, and both will help ease the transition for Thompson. Davis also told ESPN that Thompson has stepped up, a lot, since last season and is ready for the big role he’ll play in 2014.
“Dylan has stepped it up a lot,” Davis said. “As far as taking control of anything, he’s there. As far as any events going on, he’s there. And as far as running as a group, he was the guy trying to be out front, and most of the time he was. If anyone should be impressive this year, it should be Dylan.”
As far as the offense, it will look slightly different under Thompson than it did under Shaw. Thompson isn’t fleet of foot like Shaw. Can he move around the pocket and pick up a few third and fives? Probably, but the offense had a distinct identity with Shaw at the helm, and it will be fun watching Carolina’s 2014 identity evolve with Thompson.
The offense will be more pro-style-minded, as Thompson is a more pro-style quarterback, and I suspect running backs Davis, Brandon Wilds, Shon Carson and David Williams to all get carries this season, with Davis leading the way.
Can Dylan Thompson lead the Gamecocks back to Atlanta? It will be fun finding out.
Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports