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South Carolina still undecided between Zeb Noland, Luke Doty for the East Carolina game

 Billy Jones   in Football

Zeb Noland's performance vs. Eastern Illinois seems to have clouded the Gamecocks' quarterback picture. 

Zeb Noland photo courtesy of South Carolina athletics.

One of the more interesting pre-Week One storylines that seemed to disappear come game time was former graduate assistant Zeb Noland’s being named as the Gamecocks starting quarterback against Eastern Illinois. Noland was filling in for Luke Doty, who was running first-team in camp until an injury sidelined him for the opener. 

It seems that Noland played well enough that he could get another shot in the Gamecocks' game with East Carolina this Saturday. 

The USC depth chart was released listing the two quarterbacks as “or” which in effect does not name a starter. Coach Shane Beamer praised Noland’s game management skills in his press conference yet refused to say what the quarterback plan will be on Saturday.

Noland started his career at Iowa State where he racked up 1,200 yards and six touchdowns during two seasons--mainly as a back up--before transferring to North Dakota State where he was unable to win the starting job. (Of course, when the guy ahead of you is the third overall pick of the NFL Draft, that's not an easy task.) 

Noland planned to join Beamer, a first-year head coach, as a grad assistant but was thrust into the starting role after Doty’s injury. 

Noland fared well in his first outing--albeit against a very outmatched Eastern Illinois--where he threw for 121 yards and four touchdowns in a 46-0 thrashing. This efficient performance prompted many Gamecocks to believe he should start ahead of their difficult trip to play East Carolina this Saturday.

Choosing a quarterback will be the first of many pivotal decisions that Beamer will make as a coach in the SEC. It will be interesting to see how this plays out on Saturday.