Senior quarterback Perry Orth, whose fortunes as a South Carolina passer have been tossed and turned like a boat in a storm, has played the good teammate this season. But as he looked ahead to his final game at Williams-Brice Stadium, he wasn’t sugarcoating it either.
“It’s been a good ride,” Orth said. “Had a lot of fun. It didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
He rose from sixth-stringer and walk-on to become an SEC starter, all under a legend in the sport in coach Steve Spurrier. But this season, he went from opening-night starter to backup, to starter again before finally being passed on the depth chart by two freshmen.
Doing what he’s done remains impressive considering where he started, but it hasn’t outpaced his expectations.
“I always expected to play,” Orth said. “I felt like I had the ability, and when coach Spurrier gave me the opportunity, I just took it and ran with it.”
The run included 11 career starts, 2,500-plus passing yards and the chance at the helm of a team in a top-flight conference. He’s also been witness to a team’s slip from the top, and, at least thus far, a rebound under a new coach. USC was 2-9 when he started games.
It’s not certain if he’ll get a chance to play against Western Carolina in his last game in Columbia.
He’ll for sure be sending in plays and helping out the younger quarterbacks who moved ahead of him. That’s a selfless job any football coach will praise, and while Orth does it to the fullest, he was candid that at points, it hurts to not be out there.
So how does he get past that?
“Being a good person about it,” Orth said. “At the end of the day, my career was coming to an end at the end of the season if I was starting or not. Just trying to help those guys get ready for the years to come, which they have ahead of them.”