Scrimmage report: Spurrier wants QB options

jperson@thestate.comMarch 20, 2010 

Freshman quarterback Connor Shaw during USC's spring scrimmage Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

TRACY GLANTZ/TGLANTZ@THESTATE.COM

For one of the first times in his coaching career, Steve Spurrier stuck with the same quarterback last season.

The USC coach plans to give himself more options in 2010.

After watching freshman Connor Shaw perform well in the first spring scrimmage Saturday, Spurrier said he will have a No. 2 quarterback ready should returning starter Stephen Garcia struggle.

"We will have two ready to play next year. That's the first time in my coaching career of about 28 years only had one guy that could play," Spurrier said. "We will play two if the first guy doesn't play the way the coaches ask him to play."

Garcia finished as the SEC's second-leading passer in his first full season as the starter. He played every significant snap, while backup Reid McCollum attempted six passes.

McCollum left the team in January, when Shaw arrived after graduating early from his Georgia high school.

Shaw completed 8 of 13 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown with the second-team offense. D.L. Moore dropped what would have been a second touchdown pass on what Spurrier said was one of the best-thrown post routes he has seen at USC.

"He can throw on the run. He can throw in the pocket," Spurrier said of Shaw. "He's a natural passer."

Garcia, who was 6-of-15 passing for 88 yards with a touchdown and an interception, called Shaw a fast learner. Shaw believes he has the inside track on the backup job.

"I think it is mine to lose right now," he said. "Anything can happen, but I'm trying to keep that."

Speed freak

Another former sprinter from USC's track team is making waves on the football field. Cornerback Marty Markett, who was part of the Gamecocks' All-American, 400-meter relay team in 2008, had two interceptions during the scrimmage.

Markett lives with return specialist Bryce Sherman, who walked on last fall and earned a scholarship. Markett, who redshirted last season after breaking his wrist in practice, might be next in line.

"Markett is a tough little guy, a fast guy," Spurrier said. "He may be the fastest guy on the team. He's got a wonderful chance to earn a scholarship."

LeCorn healthy

Slot receiver Dion LeCorn had three catches, nearly matching his total from a 2009 season when he was never 100 percent. LeCorn played in seven games and caught four passes last year after breaking his leg on the final play of the spring game.

"It was frustrating watching the team, knowing I can't be a part of it," LeCorn said. "Hopefully, it won't happen again."

Extra points

First-year linebacker Qua Gilchrist picked off a deflected Garcia pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. ... Former Columbia High safety Chris Payne, who signed with the Gamecocks last year, is taking night classes to finish his high school degree. Payne, dismissed from Fork Union (Va.) Prep after an altercation, hopes to be admitted to USC in the fall. ...

The scrimmage ended when kicker Adam Yates hit a 50-yard field goal after transfers Joey Scribner-Howard and Jay Wooten missed from the same distance.

Coach Spurrier's comments

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Reach Person at (803) 771-8496.

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