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QB Mitchell will start South Carolina's season opener
Aug. 4, 2005
CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has found a starting quarterback in Blake Mitchell -- at least for the season opener against Central Florida.
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"Blake's earned it and he's our starter," Spurrier said after practice Thursday night.
Spurrier said the coaching staff decided that Mitchell, a sophomore, should start the Sept. 1 game at Williams-Brice Stadium.
"Obviously if he plays well he will be the quarterback for the entire season barring injury," Spurrier said. "We felt like Blake is much better prepared mentally and physically. He's had an excellent summer working out and it's clear to all of us here that he's our best guy to go out there."
Mitchell, 6-foot-3, 194 pounds, played in five games last season, going 9-for-22 for 86 yards passing and a touchdown.
Mitchell played extensively in the Garnet and Black spring game this past April, completing 12-of-23 passes for 175 yards and a TD.
The Gamecocks have only had three practices since camp began. The quick decision even surprised Mitchell.
"It was something I wasn't expecting to hear this early in camp," said Mitchell.
Mitchell came into fall camp battling Antonio Heffner and Brett Nichols at the quarterback spot. Spurrier had said he also wanted to look at newcomers Cade Thompson and Tommy Beecher.
"I busted my tail and I did the best I could to give myself every opportunity to be the number one guy. I was out there every day (this summer)," Mitchell said. "I think that showed them I wanted to be a leader on the team."
While Spurrier said the choice of Mitchell was obvious, he wasn't sure of his rotation after that. "Backups -- we don't know yet," Spurrier said. "We're trying a lot of guys right there."
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