Much like Georgia, South Carolina entered the 2016 season with questions at who would play quarterback. Unlike their SEC East counterparts, those concerns still persist for the Gamecocks.
While freshman quarterback Jacob Eason seized the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback position, South Carolina’s spot remains in flux.
The two players involved the battle, senior Perry Orth and freshman Brandon McIlwain, have traded starts in 2016, with McIlwain getting the nod in the last three games. Orth, however, delivered a strong performance in relief in last Saturday’s loss to Texas A&M, which leaves who starts against the Bulldogs in question.
“We’re still working through some things,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said about the quarterback position. “We’ve got a good idea of where we’re headed with it.”
In McIlwain, the Bulldogs would face a young, dual-threat quarterback. The 6-foot McIlwain hasn’t reeled off many long runs in 2016 — his longest stands at 11 yards — but remains a threat.
Orth is more of a pocket passer. He has thrown for 373 yards this season with no touchdowns and one interception. He started South Carolina’s first two games against Vanderbilt and Mississippi State then did not appear again until last week’s loss to the Aggies.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said his team is ready for the different looks McIlwain and Orth provide.
“You prepare (for different quarterbacks) by the plays you run with your scout team,” Smart said. “We have different kinds of quarterbacks on the scout team.”
Georgia has been preparing for a wet football game all week. The coaches have had the quarterbacks throw with footballs dunked in water to try and simulate the situation.
But Smart said that won’t be the biggest issue with the potential of a football game being played with a hurricane passing through nearby.
“The biggest factor in the game is the wind, not the rain,” Smart said. “The kicking game is seriously impacted, which is a concern of mine.”
Sanford Stadium offered
Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said Sanford Stadium was offered as a host site early in the week once it became apparent that Hurricane Matthew would be a serious storm.
Ultimately, South Carolina elected to wait on making a final decision until Thursday evening, with the SEC agreeing that Sunday at Columbia would be an OK option to play the game.