Spurrier hands reins to sophomore QB Shaw
In the end, it wasn't that difficult of a decision.
In hopes of revitalizing a lethargic offense, South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier named sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw as the Gamecocks' starter this Saturday against Kentucky.
Shaw, who started the season opener against East Carolina, replaces embattled fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia, who had been struggling with his accuracy and interceptions through the first five games of the season.
"It wasn't that hard a call," Spurrier said after practice on Monday. "At some point, we had to do something to shake up this offense, and this is the first step."
Shaw lasted just one quarter against East Carolina. Before the ECU game, Spurrier said Shaw and Garcia would play one quarter each in the first half and then "go from there."
South Carolina fell behind 17-0 with Shaw at quarterback before Garcia entered the game in the second quarter and rallied the Gamecocks to a 56-37 victory. Shaw was just 3 of 9 for 21 yards against the Pirates.
"He didn't play as well as we'd hoped," Spurrier said. "But some things happened in that game, and we've hashed that out."
Shaw said he feels more prepared for this game than the season opener against the Pirates.
"I feel confident, I feel like I'm ready to play," Shaw said. "That's just comes from experience. We'll see how it goes Saturday."
Unlike the East Carolina game, Spurrier said Shaw will play the entire game unless he gets injured.
"This is Connor's game," Spurrier said. "This is no first quarter see how you do like we did in the East Carolina game. This is his game. He's our quarterback. This is what we've got to do to see if we can't get something going."
Garcia will serve as Shaw's backup.
With more than 7,500 career passing yards and 47 TD passes under his belt, Garcia had gotten off to a slow start this year. After throwing for more than 3,000 yards and 20 TDs and completing better than 64 percent of his passes as a junior, Garcia completed 61 of 118 passes for 844 yards with four TDs and 9 interceptions this season. Garcia threw four interceptions in a 21-3 victory over Vanderbilt, but was just 9 of 23 for 160 yards and two interceptions last weekend in a 16-13 loss to unranked Auburn.
Garcia's 34 career starts ranks third in school history.
"Our quarterback play has not been as good as we hoped," Spurrier said. "We had to do something. I think Stephen kind of anticipated this move."
Shaw played in nine games a year ago, completing 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards with one TD and two interceptions. Shaw's most significant playing time a year ago came in the fourth quarter against Auburn, when he was 4 of 8 for 70 yards with two interceptions.
In two games this season, Shaw completed 4 of 11 passes for 29 yards. Shaw played in nine games a year ago as a true freshman, completing 23 of 32 passes for 223 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Spurrier hinted that other personnel moves on offense could be coming soon.
"Maybe some other positions we're looking at also," Spurrier said.