Remember last spring when Steve Spurrier was calling out Stephen Garcia any chance he got while mentioning Connor Shaw as a viable backup quarterback who would push Garcia?
The armchair psychologists, this one included, surmised that Spurrier was trying to get in Garcia’s head to make sure the Tampa right-hander did not go through the motions again during the summer conditioning and passing drills.
Certainly, motivation was part of Spurrier’s message. But the part about Shaw being a legitimate option should Garcia falter?
That’s looking more accurate every time the Gamecocks scrimmage.
For the second consecutive scrimmage, the challenger outplayed the incumbent. And in the only vote that matters, Spurrier left the door wide open that Shaw, a true freshman and son of a football coach, could be the opening-game starter Sept. 2 when Southern Miss visits Columbia.
The fact that Shaw took the first snaps under center Thursday only added to the intrigue.
“Definitely Connor’s going to play in the first game,” Spurrier said. “Right now we’re planning on both of them playing and go from there. Statistically, he’s been the best quarterback on the team in every scrimmage. So that’s where we are with that.”
On the opening series, Shaw directed a five-play, 70-yards scoring drive that he capped with a 6-yard touchdown run. He book-ended his day with another TD drive, hitting freshman Nick Jones for a 17-yard scoring strike.
The highlight of the drive was a 53-yard toss to Kenny Miles on a play when Shaw scrambled to his right to avoid the pass rush. Shaw’s stat line: 5-of-8 for 111 yards and one TD; no picks.
Meanwhile, Garcia finished the day 11-of-16 for 113 yards. But he was picked off twice by safety Akeem Auguste.
Asked who would start the opener, Spurrier said he had two more weeks to make that decision. But he seemed to indicate that Shaw has the edge at this point.
“Well, like I said, Connor has outplayed him in the scrimmages,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes the next two weeks. Stephen may play the best. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Should be an interesting two weeks.
Read more: http://blogs.thestateonline.net/jperson/2010/08/19/qb-battle-heats-up/#ixzz0x6rRBHSZ