G.A. Mangus has four, or five, more games this season to worry about so he hasn’t even begun to think about South Carolina’s quarterback situation in 2014, South Carolina’s quarterbacks coach said.
“We’ve got the University of Florida in 10 days,” Mangus said after the Gamecocks finished an almost two-hour workout. “I’ll worry about that in the spring. Now that we are bowl eligible we know we have more practices and that’s a good time always to start looking forward and getting them a little base before spring practice.”
That won’t stop the team’s fan base from placing their mental bets on who will start once senior Connor Shaw gives up the starting job at the end of this season. Junior Dylan Thompson, who has 643 passing yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions this season, almost certainly will enter the spring as the No. 1 option, but redshirt freshman Brendan Nosovitch and redshirting freshman Connor Mitch have improved this fall, Mangus said.
Nosovitch has played this season as a third-string quarterback but hasn’t thrown a pass. He has carried the ball once, for a 7-yard touchdown.
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“Brendan has gotten more reps the last couple of weeks and he has done pretty good,” Mangus said. “He’s a smart kid and has picked it up well. I’m anxious to see him in the spring, but that’s the spring.”
Mitch is a four-star prospect who threw for more than 12,000 yards in high school.
“He has done a good job of not wasting the fall, and that’s always the talk you have with those guys when they get here, ‘Yeah, you are going to redshirt, but you can’t afford to go waste four months of knowledge,’ so he has done a good job of that and it shows. He’s a little more decisive about where to go with the ball,” Mangus said.
Sophomore defensive end Gerald Dixon – “Dixon 44” as he’s called to help differentiate between himself and brother and teammate Gerald Dixon Jr. – is pushing senior Chaz Sutton for the starting job at left defensive end.
“Right now I think Chaz is still there, but (Dixon) is going to play just as much,” defensive line coach Deke Adams said. “He has produced. He played a good bit this past week and for the past two weeks every time he has been put in the game he has made plays. He’s right in the thick of things right now. He understands that.”
Dixon has had seven tackles in the last two games and has 10 for the season.
“He works hard in practice,” Adams said. “He knows the scheme like the back of his hand. He’s a smart kid. He is understanding where his help his, where he is supposed to be. He and Chaz are doing a great job. I tell my guys all the time, ‘There are no starters, you have to show me you are ready to play.’”
Steve Spurrier is the 12th-highest paid college football coach in the country, according to USA Today’s annual review of salaries in the sport. Spurrier’s yearly compensation of $3,322,500 million ranks fifth in the SEC behind Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.4 million), Arkansas’ Bret Bielema ($5.2 million), Tennessee’s Butch Jones ($4.9 million) and LSU’s Les Miles ($4.3 million). Georgia’s Mark Richt is one spot behind Spurrier at $3.2 million.
In 2012, Spurrier signed a contract extension that runs through the end of the 2017 season. At the time, he told The State, “I’m already embarrassed by what I make. I don’t need to make anymore. It’s plenty.”
Unitas finalist. Shaw, who has 18 touchdowns and one interception this season, was named one of 10 finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award on Wednesday.
Shaw, a 6-1, 209-pound senior from Flowery Branch, Ga., has completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 1,655 yards and needs one more win to tie Todd Ellis’ school record of 24 victories.
Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and offensive lineman Mason Zandi are not practicing this week due to undisclosed injuries. Mike Davis (shoulder) and Cody Waldrop (ankle) also have not practiced.
The Gamecocks will practice Thursday before taking a three-day break.