Kurt Roper Talks Quarterback Competition


COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — The University of South Carolina football team spent a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day afternoon on their new practice fields. The Gamecocks, wearing helmets and shorts, worked out Thursday afternoon for the second time this spring.

Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is working hard to get his unit up to speed with his system. “It’s always an interesting start,” said Coach Roper. “There’s so much to learn, not just schematically, but where we want them to go on the practice field, what drill names are and all those things. So it’s a good start, but there’s a lot of things to fix and correct and get better at for sure.”

With five quarterbacks still in the picture, Coach Roper indicated there is plenty of room for improvement in the passing game. “I told the quarterbacks after practice the first thing we have to do to get better is take care of the football,” said Coach Roper. “We’re turning it over too much in the passing game. And we have to get more completions. That’s the first priority trying to move forward in the passing game.”

The quarterbacks are still getting used to the pace of the practice sessions. “They’re probably a little more fatigued,” admitted Coach Roper, “but that’s not a bad thing. Obviously that makes them concentrate more on what’s going on and that’s a challenge. I think that will make them mentally tougher down the line.”

Roper is challenged by repping five quarterbacks. “It’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s what we have to do to understand who we have on the team,” noted Coach Roper. “This is the first two days we’ve actually physically seen them throw the football. Obviously there’s no timetable on making this decision (to cut down on the number of quarterbacks taking snaps). We want to do it as quickly as we can, but you have to have some information to make those decisions.

“We want to get as much as we can installed through spring, figure out who we’re going to be based on the talent that we have on the football team, then obviously you have to start preparing to win football games in the fall,” continued Coach Roper. “Right now, we think players, not plays.”

The Gamecocks will return to the practice fields on Friday afternoon.

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