During his weekly meeting with the Columbia Rotary Club on Monday afternoon, new South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp seemed to allude to the Gamecocks quarterback competition narrowing as of today.
While emphasizing that there was no obvious starter yet and that the competition will go into the fall, Muschamp said that senior Perry Orth and true freshman Brandon McIlwain had distanced themselves from the rest of the pack after last Saturday's scrimmage; Orth, in large part to his command of the offense, and McIlwain, based on sheer ability and what he can do both throwing and running the ball. With Orth sidelined until the beginning of summer practice with a broken collarbone, it will be McIlwain who takes the first team reps when practice resumes on Tuesday at 4:30. Muschamp made it clear that he feels the Gamecocks need someone under center who can get involved in the running game, stressing that being able to take off when nothing is there is crucial to the decision making process; a philosophy that certainly seems to be in McIlwain's favor.
As Muschamp himself said, we don't have a starter right now and there won't be one by the end of spring practice, so it is still too early to discount guys like Lorenzo Nunez, Connor Mitch or Michael Scarnecchia. Having said that, with Orth and Nunez sidelined temporarily and all reports coming out of camp thus far being that McIlwain has been as-advertised, it is becoming more and more likely that McIlwain will see significant playing time from day one in a Gamecocks uniform. I still believe that Orth, with his experience, has the inside track to being the starter when the Gamecocks take on Vanderbilt in Nashville on September 1, but McIlwain has clearly grabbed the coaches' attention from the get-go and I would be very surprised if he doesn't get the nod at some point throughout the season.