South Carolina's offense is witnessing the emergence of a superstar running back in Mike Davis. He has burst onto the scene as one of the nation's most versatile backs, one who appears to be built for a balanced offensive style.
Davis is the type of dynamic offensive player around whom the Gamecocks can construct its offense next season, when a new quarterback takes the full-time starting duties.
Quarterback Dylan Thompson, who has plenty of experience backing up current starter Connor Shaw, will be the man in charge next year, the one orchestrating what could be a potent offensive attack.
With Shaw commanding the offense, the team utilizes shotgun sets and a more spread-like approach. Once Thompson takes over full time in 2014, the South Carolina offense will look a bit different. And we are about to get a taste of it now with Connor Shaw being sidelined yet again with an injury, this time to a knee sprain.
A Thompson-Davis backfield is a great combination of offensive weapons with complementary styles.
Thompson, the gunslinging quarterback, seems best suited for an under-center, pro-style offense. Under those sets, Thompson can showcase his passing skills and be a true dropback pocket passer. While he has had some issues at times this season with accuracy, Thompson has a big arm and a lot of potential.
With Thompson presenting a solid passing threat, the window opens for the true power of this offense, Mike Davis. A more potent passing attack will allow Davis and the running game to thrive, and the offense will become less dependent on Davis to carry it.
Davis works best as a pro-style running back, one who can take a traditional handoff and turn it into big yardage or grind away methodically at an opposing defense. His vision to slip through the gaps and his ability to burst into open field makes Davis the ultimate threat as a rusher.
And no one can forget about his pass-catching ability. Thompson will really enjoy having a dynamic receiving back on top of Davis' already stellar running.
As Davis establishes the run and shreds defenses, Thompson and the South Carolina can expand the playbook to include an array of play-action passes. Whether it is out of the shotgun or from under center, Davis' threat to run will give the Gamecocks some golden opportunities to trick defenses with play-action.
With a receiving corps that returns all of its game-day receivers, Thompson could have a field day connecting with the likes of Bruce Ellington, Shaq Roland, Damiere Byrd and company.
While Shaw gives South Carolina a scrambling quarterback, Thompson's pro-style play will help South Carolina's offense maintain some consistency and continuity. The team's experience going into 2014 won't hurt the cause either.
Davis is the beast of this offense, and he can put the team on his back and take the Gamecocks a long way. But, Thompson's presence will bring about a different look to the attack.
The Thompson-Davis combination may take a little time to develop this season. But South Carolina's offense could be reinvented and ready to roll by 2014.