David Cloninger

Camp Insider: ‘You’ll be surprised’ how ready Connor Mitch is

Connor Mitch
Connor Mitch tdominick@thestate.com

We’ve heard it all spring and summer and will continue to hear it through at least the next two weeks – South Carolina’s quarterback situation is unsettled, there is no No. 1, everybody’s competing, etc.

The question that will remain unanswered even when Steve Spurrier picks a starter is – “Really, how good is he?”

Connor Mitch, Perry Orth, Michael Scarnecchia, Lorenzo Nunez – nobody knows how good one of them will be until they start sizing up that North Carolina baby blue defense on Sept. 3. The plan was to get the first two some experience last year, but the way the season unfolded, the Gamecocks couldn’t. They had to keep Dylan Thompson in almost all the time because they hardly ever had a comfortable lead to let Mitch or Orth get some reps.

It’s reasonable to think Mitch will win the job, so when I ran into a guy who’s around the program a lot the other night, I asked. No queries of his three-step drop or ability to escape; simply, “How good is Mitch?”

His answer – “You’re going to be surprised. He’s ready.”

I lowered my eyebrows. He noticed.

“Really, man, he’s going to be just fine in there,” the source said. “He has the talent and he’s put in the work all spring and summer. Yeah, he has to do it in a game, but he has the poise.”

I’m thinking that poise in practice and in the film room is awfully easy to obtain, but this guy seemed confident. Mitch has worked as hard as he can and has never assumed he has the job (another thing you’ll hear a lot of in the next two weeks is Mitch saying, “That’s not up to me.”)

Mitch won’t be truly judged until he starts playing, and even then, it may take him a game or three to really settle in. I know at least one opinion that says he won’t take nearly that long.

“It all comes down to that first pass,” my guy said. “Whether it’s a touchdown to Pharoh or a sideline out to Jerell Adams, if it’s complete, a quarterback’s confidence is sky-high. Offense and coach will protect him enough to make it happen.”