David Cloninger

Experience could be all the edge Perry Orth needs

There’s still a month of practices to go so anything said or done in the first two days won’t matter much.

Yet it’s hard not to think that Perry Orth won’t take the first snap of South Carolina’s 2016 season, and likely a whole lot after that.

I realize Brandon McIlwain and Jake Bentley are the shiny new toys in the Gamecocks’ locker room, especially after McIlwain turned down what could have been a lucrative baseball offer to play football and proceeded to light up the spring game. But Orth, who missed most of spring practice with a broken collarbone, didn’t lose any ground to McIlwain during that time.

As good as McIlwain looked and while he’s the future of USC football, Orth still has what McIlwain doesn’t. And considering the Gamecocks open on the road in the SEC against a stout defense, that edge could be the biggest thing Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper look at when deciding on a starting QB.

“Experience is obviously a huge advantage,” Roper said on Wednesday. “You’ve been in the stadiums before, you’ve gotten ready for a game before and gone through all the butterflies and the anxiety to go along with it. Being in the battles before definitely helps.”

Orth had a pretty good 2015, although the wins obviously weren’t there. When considering he was a former walk-on now starting in the SEC, his season was downright excellent.

What’s more, this team would follow Orth through the gates of Hades. Not to say McIlwain or Bentley don’t have that quality, but they haven’t been here long enough to take over that role right now.

There won’t be any decisions made soon. While Muschamp said he’d prefer to have a starter sooner rather than later, it’s not something he’ll rush.

Orth won’t lose any of his 2015 experience leading to Sept. 1. McIlwain and Bentley won’t gain any.

Easy choice.

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