COLUMBIA -- There's no quarterback controversy at South Carolina.
Stephen Garcia is the starter and sophomore Connor Shaw is the backup. But a few more performances like the one Shaw had during the Gamecocks' scrimmage on Saturday and there might be a situation.
Shaw completed nine of 11 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns, including one to former Berkeley High School star Bruce Ellington, during the Gamecocks' 90-play scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.
"I felt like I took a step forward today," said Shaw. "I thought I had a good day throwing the ball. I'm not going to worry about where I am on the depth chart, but I think this gets me into the conversation. It's frustrating when you work so hard in the summer and make some long strides and it doesn't show up on the field. But today I think all the hard work I've done over the summer and in the preseason is starting to pay off."
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was almost gushing about the Flowery Branch, Ga., native.
"Connor Shaw had an excellent scrimmage," Spurrier said. "I think his team went up and down the field and scored every time he was in. He threw it where he was supposed to, got rid of it, did not take sacks and played pretty well. I think he took a step forward today. He made some good decisions."
Shaw knows all too well that Spurrier's opinion can change in a hurry.
"Oh, he can brag on me now, but tomorrow he'll crucify me, so I'll just take it day by day," Shaw said. "It's always nice to hear a good word, but I'll leave that alone."
Garcia, who was not made available to the media following the scrimmage, had a solid outing, completing nine of 15 passes for 92 yards.
Overall, the quarterbacks were 28 of 45 for 347 yards with four touchdowns.
"I don't look at it like a competition between me and Stephen," Shaw said. "I've got a job to do and so does Stephen. I'm trying to get better every day, every practice and trying to make this team better."
Ellington took a turn at quarterback, running a series in the wildcat formation. He finished 20 yards on three attempts.
Marcus Lattimore did not have a rushing attempt during the scrimmage and caught just one pass for 11 yards. All-SEC wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey did not have a reception as well.
Overall, Spurrier was less than impressed by what he saw on Saturday.
"It was OK, nothing super," Spurrier said. "I told the guys that we looked like the seventh best offense and the seventh best defense in the league; still got a lot of work to do."
Clowney makes impact
Although no official defensive statistics were kept during the scrimmage, freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had two sacks, according to defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson.
This was Clowney's first full speed action of the preseason, although defensive players were not allowed to hit the quarterback.
"I think I did pretty well," Clowney said. "I wanted to get out there and keep the motor going. I had a couple of sacks. They blew the whistle so we couldn't hit them and that was a little frustrating, but those guys are my teammates, so it wasn't too bad. It's to the point where I can't wait to hit someone besides my own teammates."
Clowney said he's still making the adjustment to the speed and skill at the collegiate level.
"I'm getting there, but I'm not there yet," Clowney said. "It was tough at first. At first, I was like, 'this is nothing like high school,' but I'm starting to get better."
"One on one, we can't block him, but there's more to the game than coming off the end on a speed rush," Ellis said. "He's still learning how to read the play and that's going to take some time. He's getting better every day."
Byrd flying high
Freshman wide receiver Damiere Byrd continues to play well this preseason. He led all receivers with three catches for 84 yards, including a 65-yard TD reception from Shaw on the Gamecocks' first scoring drive.
Byrd, a track star in high school, said he's getting more comfortable with each practice.
"Everyone is fast in college, especially in the SEC, so I've to rely more on my technique and route running," Byrd said. "You're not going to run past guys at this level. You've got to be able to run good routes and get open."
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