On the eve of their matchup in the Outback Bowl, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Michigan coach Brady Hoke on Monday offered some clarity about their quarterback situations during a joint news conference.
Both teams will still play two quarterbacks (Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson for USC, Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson for Michigan). Both coaches reiterated that fact, essentially echoing what they said throughout this month.
But Spurrier made a point of saying that he wants Shaw, his regular starter, to play most of the game. And Hoke, who had been evasive about his quarterback setup, clarified that Gardner, the usual No. 2, will start against the Gamecocks, as he did in the final four games, when Robinson was nursing a sore throwing elbow. Gardner hadn’t thrown a pass all season before that.
Here’s what Spurrier had to say about his quarterbacks …
“Let me address that a little maybe differently than I did the last time I talked about it (on Saturday). Connor Shaw has been our starter. I’ve always thought you should tell one guy it’s his game unless he gets hurt or it really goes terribly wrong and you have to make a change.
“(Shaw) feels and we all feel he’s 100 percent healthy (after missing the regular season finale at Clemson with a sprained left foot). So right now, we’re going into it that it’s his game: ‘This is your game, let’s go.’ Dylan is going to play in there somewhere. We’re hoping Connor plays about all the game. We think (Shaw) certainly deserves the right to go in there and (know): ‘Hey, this is my game, let’s go.’”
Spurrier said Saturday that he hoped one guy would play most of the game, but didn’t specify which quarterback that was. Now we know for sure that he wants Shaw to go most of the game. That’s the plan for now, and of course it could change on Tuesday.
Here’s what Hoke said about his quarterbacks …
“Devin will be the starting quarterback and Denard will play some quarterback. Really how we finished the year in the last three ball games, four ball games is how we’ll play it out.”
Robinson didn’t play in the first two of the final four games. He played running back and wide receiver in the final two games. So might we see Robinson in those roles again Tuesday?
“Yeah, probably,” Hoke said. “Everything is possible with him.”