A little more than a week ago, Steve Spurrier anointed walk-on Perry Orth as the backup quarterback to Dylan Thompson. That raised eyebrows because many thought this spring was going to be a battle between Brendan Nosovitich and Connor Mitch for the No. 2 job.
There is plenty of time for that to change between now and when South Carolina kicks off the season at the end of August against Texas A&M, but Orth has made the most of his opportunities this spring.
“As of right now, (Spurrier) said I am the No. 2 guy, but I don’t think that is written in stone yet,” Orth said after Thursday’s 11th practice of the spring. “Me, Brendan and Connor are all competing to see who the best one will be in the fall.”
Despite getting offers FCS and Division II schools coming out of high school in Jacksonville, Fla., Orth decided in February of his senior year that he would walk on at USC. He said that decision was delayed a semester because there was an issue with his high school transcripts. He stayed at home and went to Florida State Community College before arriving in Columbia in January 2013.
“I knew coming here as a walk-on, nothing was going to be handed to you,” Orth said. “I had to go out and try to put myself in the best position to succeed every day.”
Orth has been praised for his passing. Quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus has liked the progress Orth has shown.
“He’s still got a lot to learn, as all the young guys do, but he throws a very catchable ball,” Mangus said. “In the passing game, he’s done well with the knowledge he has and given himself a chance to have some success. But he just has to play.”
No quarterback behind Thompson has been on campus more than two years. That means the learning curve is steep to run Spurrier’s complex offense.
“It’s really hard to learn this offense in two years or less,” Thompson said. “I’m sure you guys looked at me and thought I was a joke out here, but that’s cool. I’m just going to hammer on those guys because they have to learn. That’s what they’re doing right now, and it’s just a process.”
Running back David Williams missed another practice with a hamstring issue. Running backs coach Everette Sands hopes he will be able to get back for a practice or two next week and then participate in the spring game.
Cornerback Rico McWilliams also missed his second consecutive practice with a sore knee.
Defensive end Devin Washington (hand) returned to practice on Thursday.
Thompson was wearing a video camera on the front of his helmet above his facemask. He said it’s taken getting used to, but he believes it will help in the long run.
“It shows what I’m looking at on certain plays, why I’m checking out. It also shows when I make a mistake,” he said.
The Gamecocks are set to hold their second official scrimmage of the spring on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. The workout is open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m.