The Gamecocks hit the Proving Grounds again on Wednesday night but have a few injuries still limiting some of the players on the field. One of those players is starting quarterback Connor Shaw. Shaw was recently named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Tennessee but was recently seen on crutches in recent days. Is this a concern for the Gamecocks? Not in Steve Spurrier's mind.
"He's got a sprained foot," Coach Spurrier said. "They're putting him on crutches and in a boot. They do that everytime someone sprains an ankle. He should be full speed next Monday."
Connor Shaw's performance on Saturday was a career-best in passing yards with 356 yards on 22-of-32 passing with three touchdowns and one interception. The game showcased a completely different Connor Shaw than what was seen in the prior week at Florida. Shaw was benched in the second half of the game in Gainesville due to the offense's struggles and Steve Spurrier indicated on Wednesday night that the benching likely played a role in Shaw's strong performance against the Volunteers.
"Connor Shaw probably had his best game last week. Coach John Wooden (said) the coach's greatest ally is the bench. Connor got benched. He didn't sit around and mope or pout or cry. He figured out what he needed to do better and worked on it last week and had his best game. When a coach benches a guy, that's what a coach has to do. Just because a guy goes to the bench doesn't mean he's finished by any means. It means he needs to start playing a little better and play the way the coaches ask him to play. I think going to the bench helped him."
A big part of Shaw's success was how he found his tight ends this past weekend. Justice Cunningham and Rory Anderson combined for nine catches and 166 yards with one touchdown between the two. Spurrier reiterated that in detail on Wednesday and what Shaw needs to do going forward to continue that strong performance.
"They finally got some balls coming. Connor finally took his steps and threw it. So many times he takes off running instead of throwing it and now he's hopefully learned to turn it loose when he's got an opening to throw it. So that was encouraging and got to do it again next week."
The obvious injury to Marcus Lattimore was a big blow for the Gamecocks this past weekend. South Carolina will have to fight without their veteran leader the rest of this season, and possibly longer, but there are some capable backups ready to fill the void. Spurrier reaffirmed that Miles is the starter and mentioned the possibility that Brandon Wilds could be available as well.
"Kenny is ready to go. Brandon Wilds was running around well out here today. Mike Davis...we've got three ready to play. Nobody plays as well as Marcus though, he's the best running back in the country. It's a shame what happened, terrible thing, it's happened now and we've got to move on. He's got a good outlook, good attitude about it. Time can heal a lot of wounds as we know."
The Gamecocks will use this bye weekend to try their best to move on without Lattimore and will focus on Arkansas coming to town next weekend on November 10 at 12:00.
Post-Practice Notes-Steve Spurrier Junior mentioned after practice that the switch of positions for Bruce Ellington and Ace Sanders came from Steve Spurrier himself. Ellington moved outside while Sanders moved to the inside. The payoff worked as both players produced big games for the Gamecocks with 180 yards combined on 11 catches and two receiving touchdowns
-Kelcy Quarles and Akeem Auguste were not practicing tonight. Both have suffered injuries in recent weeks with Quarles injuring his shoulder and Auguste injuring his groin. Both players are expected to be fine for the Arkansas game.
-Spurrier also mentioned that they benched a few defensive guys last week too. He said he hopes they'll come back and play better in the secondary than what they had last week.