COLUMBIA — South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw said his right shoulder was sore when he awoke Sunday morning after playing through a sprain the previous night, but it wasn’t severe.
When trainers told Shaw he had a sprained throwing shoulder following USC’s win at Central Florida, he never hesitated to make it his goal to play the next week against Kentucky. Following USC’s win over the Wildcats, Shaw said his decision was simple. It was his senior season, and he didn’t want to miss a game.
Shaw played magnificently, completing 17 of 20 passes for 262 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown pass, with no interceptions. He added 50 yards rushing, including a 2-yard touchdown run.
On Tuesday, Shaw said he has no regrets with his early return from the injury.
“It wasn’t that bad,” Shaw said. “But I’ve always had the mentality that I’m going to play through it no matter what. I actually had the same injury in high school. I dislocated it, and I played the next week. So I knew I could do it again.”
Spurrier likes Rice
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he has no problem with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice being on college football’s playoff selection committee, which was reported by the Associated Press last week.
“Why not?” Spurrier said Tuesday. “She’s an honest, fair person, I think. Stanford graduate. She plays a little golf. She’s a member at Augusta National. I think she’s probably as good as anybody.”
Spurrier’s endorsement followed controversial comments from former Auburn football coach Pat Dye on Monday. Dye was less than impressed with Rice’s football credentials.
“All she knows about football is what somebody told her,” Dye told al.com. “Or what she read in a book, or what she saw on television. To understand football, you’ve got to play with your hand in the dirt.
“I love Condoleezza Rice and she’s probably a good statesman and all of that, but how in the hell does she know what it’s like out there when you can’t get your breath and it’s 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?”
Special team woes
Bruce Ellington was still sore Tuesday about his fourth-quarter fumble on a kickoff return against Kentucky, which helped the Wildcats turn a blowout into a competitive game.
“It’s very frustrating,” Ellington said. “Every game I go out and try to get a kick return. Fumbling the ball is something I do not want to do. It hurts. Every day we go out and continue to work hard. We go hard at practice. We just have to put it all together and go out on the field and use what we’ve got.”
After the game Saturday, Spurrier said freshman Pharoh Cooper may crack the top spot of the depth chart as a kick returner. Cooper was still behind Ellington on the depth chart released Tuesday.
Ellington said he wasn’t concerned with the depth chart.
“They haven’t told me anything,” Ellington said. “I am just going to go out to practice and do what I have to do. If Pharoh starts, I am still going to go hard and do what I have to do.”
Lewis taken to hospital
Sophomore linebacker Kaiwan Lewis was taken to the hospital Monday night with an infection in his leg.
“Kaiwan had an infection in his leg,” Spurrier said. “They took him to the hospital last night, IV’d him up with some antibiotics.”
Lewis’ status for Saturday’s trip to Arkansas is unknown. He is second on the team with 25 tackles this season, including one for lost yardage.