COLUMBIA, SC (TheBigSpur.com) Walk-on quarterback Perry Orth got the news last Saturday that any player in any sport who is competing for a position wants to hear when South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier gave him the nod as the Gamecocks' backup quarterback.
While every player wants to start, Dylan Thompson enters the spring as the Gamecocks unquestioned starter, leaving Orth, redshirt freshman Connor Mitch and redshirt sophomore Brendan Nosovitch to duke it out for the No. 2 spot.
Right now, Orth holds that title. But he knows things can change quickly under Spurrier.
"I don't think that's written in stone yet," Orth said. "Me, Brendan and Connor are still out here competing trying to figure out who's going to be the best guy come the fall."
So far -- other than Thompson -- Orth has been the Gamecocks' best quarterback in practices and scrimmages, which led to Spurrier naming him No. 2 after last Saturday's scrimmage.
As a young player, Orth knows there's still plenty for him to learn and improve on. Orth says one of his biggest challenges has been knowing when to drop the ball off underneath rather than throw down field.
"When you're reading coverages down field, when the defense is bailing, you want to make sure you get down underneath to your running backs," Orth said. "Also, footwork is a big thing I want to work on this offseason. And then just understanding the offense. It's a big offense. Spurrier has a lot that we have to handle."
Orth credits Thompson for helping with his progress.
"Dylan has been helpful since the day I got on campus," Orth said. "I used to come in and meet with Brian Turk, our quarterback graduate assistant, and (quarterbacks) coach (G.A.) Mangus, and Dylan would always be there. In meetings, Dylan is always quizzing the younger guys on what we're supposed to be doing and different plays, formations and checks."
Dylan Thompson has spent the last two practices with a camera strapped to his helmet.
Thompson says Orth loves to learn the game.
"I think study," Thompson said, asked what Orth has done to impress him. "That's something that, it's not pretty, it's not flashy, but it works. And if you put your time in on your own, keeping your nose down and working, it's going to pay off. I think he's done a good job of that."