A quarterback controversy could be brewing at South Carolina after a 2-0 start with grad assistant Zeb Noland under center.
Noland filled in last week against Eastern Illinois after sophomore starter Luke Doty remained sidelined with a foot injury. Noland helped the Gamecocks win that game and did it again on Saturday against East Carolina. Noland went 13-of-24 for 213 yards and a touchdown against the Pirates.
Noland previously started at North Dakota State and Iowa State, but was only supposed to help this year with a clipboard before the injury to Doty. First year head coach Shane Beamer opted to go with Noland, who has one year of eligibility left, over redshirt senior Jason Brown.
Doty meanwhile, was a top-100 recruit and was expected to be No. 1 on the depth chart this season. Could Beamer go with Noland once Doty is healthy? Beamer offered an update on Sunday to John Whittle of The Big Spur.
“I’m not going to put Luke out there before he’s 100 percent,” Beamer said. “Luke has got to be able to get into live team reps and live 7-on-7 reps, feel good, be able to execute and also feel good the next day. We’ll see how practice goes. We were only on the practice field about 45 minutes tonight, so that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday practice will be critical.”
Beamer said that Doty would likely play if he were 100%, which he feels will be the case when South Carolina travels to play No. 2 Georgia on Saturday.
“Luke Doty practiced tonight and did quite a bit more in practice than he did last Sunday. We fully expect him to be 100 percent on Saturday night in Athens,” Beamer said.
That seems to answer the question if Noland becomes the backup once Doty returns, but the 2-0 record shows that Noland is more than capable.
Whoever takes the snaps under center on Saturday, one thing will be for sure: the Gamecocks will need great quarterback play to have a chance against the Bulldogs on the road.