David Cloninger

October 2, 2013

Cloninger Soundoff: Gamecocks better with Shaw at QB

Just when you think you’ve heard it all

David Cloninger

All things Gamecocks, especially basketball and football

Just when you think you’ve heard it all

Steve Spurrier said Connor Shaw, after letting out an injured howl that was heard over on the Disney World Teacups ride, not only practiced on Monday, but threw a ball 55-60 yards. Then on Wednesday, Spurrier said Shaw will start on Saturday. All of us media types shook our heads, again amazed at how iron-tough the Gamecocks’ senior quarterback is.

But that was, apparently, the wrong thing to say to a small segment of USC fans. You’d have thought we reported that Steve Taneyhill had hair plugs.

For some reason, some fans can’t stand that Shaw will play. I know the most popular player on the team is always the backup quarterback, but come on.

Shaw gives USC’s offense a different look. He keeps defenses off-balance by being able to run. I like Dylan Thompson, but he can’t run like Shaw can and keep defenses in constant adjustment mode (Note: Scrambling is not running).

Yet, that’s what some fans don’t want. They want Shaw to stay back and throw downfield, quit putting himself in harm’s way and take care of the ball. Never mind that USC receivers have struggled to get open early all season and that it would make the offense predictable.

One guy claimed Shaw faked the injury because he was ashamed he fumbled, which led to his miraculous recovery this week. Another said that with Shaw under center, the best USC could hope for was a two- or three-loss season with an Outback Bowl.

And that’s a problem? Since when do the Gamecocks get to be disappointed with a New Year’s Day bowl game? Sorry, but when the great majority of USC’s history has been wishing for a winning season, a two- or three-loss season is parade-worthy, not an object of scorn.

Shaw gives USC the best chance to win, and win a lot. He’s not 20-4 as a starter by accident.

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