'Taking everything very serious right now'

Connor Shaw was named MVP of the Capital One Bowl after leading the Gamecocks' to a victory over Wisconsin on Jan. 1.

Connor Shaw finds himself in a transitional phase during the buildup to the NFL draft in May.

The former South Carolina quarterback played his final amateur game Jan. 18 at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, completing 5 of 6 passes for 70 yards and an uncharacteristic interception. He led the National team on two scoring drives, one ending with a touchdown.

Next up, Shaw has the NFL Combine, perhaps his best chance to showcase his skills to NFL scouts. With the trip to Indianapolis more than three weeks away, Shaw will focus extensively on training in Atlanta with mentor and family friend Chip Smith.

The is the second in a series of updates Shaw has agreed to provide The Post and Courier as he prepares for the NFL Combine.

Q: What kind of feedback have you gotten from your play at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl?

A: I've gotten a lot of positive feedback. When I was there, I got to talk to a lot of GMs and scouts, played for coach (Dick) Vermeil and his staff. Since the game, there's been nothing but positive. It was more so from the practices. They said the game didn't mean too much. They were real impressed with how I practiced the three or four days that we were out there. They were impressed with my leadership.

Q: How is training going in Atlanta with Chip Smith?

A: It's a pretty brutal routine, but I'm enjoying it right now. It's about six hours, from about 8 a.m., then an hour-long break, and it will end around 3:30 p.m. (Monday through Friday) Pretty much we're just going through quarterback drills, training, speed and agility, and then I'll lift after.

Q: How did you start working out with Chip Smith?

A: I've been working with Chip Smith since fourth grade. I consider him family. I get the best workout with him, so I wanted to come train for him again. He and my dad are really close friends.

Q: What's the biggest thing you need to improve before May?

A: As far as speed and agility, I'm pretty good there. I guess I can continue to work on arm strength. I'm pretty accurate. But I can work on all phases of my game. I'm taking everything very serious right now.

Q: How much have you enjoyed getting out and meeting South Carolina fans at your autograph signings?

A: It's extremely rewarding for me, especially not being able to do that during the season. Getting the opportunity to talk with them and meet with them one-on-one has been pretty special for me. There's been some people that have kind of lost their minds a little bit, which is really entertaining. It's all been fun, we've had a blast at each one of them.

Q: What are your goals for the NFL Combine in February?

A: Obviously, I want a good 40 time, put up big numbers with my vertical, broad jump and shuttle. During the passing drills, I want to be very accurate and very rhythmic.

Q: The physical part of the combine is important, but there's also the interview process. How do you prepare for the interviews?

A: I've been doing interviews since high school. So I think I've got that down pretty good. I was able to talk to six or seven GMs at the NFLPA game and scouts that were doing the exact same thing I'll be experiencing at the combine. So that part doesn't worry me too much.

Q: Are all interviews sort of the same, follow the same formula?

A: Yeah, they'll ask questions and try to put you in difficult situations to give you awkward questions to respond to, but I feel like I've pretty much faced them all by now.