Life isn’t an easy one for quarterbacks in football, at any level. South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw has learned that lesson in the opening three games of this season the only way that lesson can be learned: the hard way.
Right from the beginning of his time at the school, there has been hype and expectation associated with Shaw. In his freshman year, the Gamecocks won the SEC East and played in the conference title game. Last year, it became a necessity that Shaw carry the load when the Gamecocks lost running back Marcus Lattimore early in the season to injury. Shaw didn’t exactly overachieve last season statistically, but was able to make up for it in the leadership department, as the Gamecocks finished in the top-10 with eleven victories and a Capital One Bowl win.
All of that hype and expectation returned even larger as this season is seen as the year where everything finally comes together for the Gamecocks. The season where Lattimore and Shaw are on the field at the same time, running the offense the way it’s supposed to be run, with both at 100%. While Lattimore has stayed on the field and done just fine through the first three games, it’s been a completely different story with Shaw.
Shaw’s right shoulder, his throwing shoulder, has been a major concern since the first day of the season.
Against the Vanderbilt Commodores, Shaw bruised his shoulder during the Gamecocks’ 17-13 win, with Shaw having to attempt fourteen carries, and expose that shoulder, against a defense that played exceptionally well. The bruising was such a concern to coach Steve Spurrier that he benched Shaw for the following week’s game against the East Carolina Pirates.
Shaw returned to the field last week against the UAB Blazers, but it would be shared duty. Second string quarterback Dylan Thompson attempted ten passes to Shaw’s fourteen during the Gamecocks’ 49-6 win. The sophomore put up some very good numbers in replacing Shaw the prior week against the Pirates, throwing for over 300 yards and a touchdown.
Shaw is listed as probable for Saturday’s home game against the Missouri Tigers.
All is not lost for the Gamecocks, however. Even if Shaw isn’t 100% for the rest of the season, it may appear that the Gamecocks’ second option at quarterback could help fulfill the team’s potential as long as Lattimore remains healthy.