Steve Spurrier and Stephen Garcia expect Connor Shaw to bounce back from Saturday’s disappointing performance against East Carolina.
“Oh, he’s fine,” Spurrier said. “He saw what happened, and we watched the tape. He could have done this and could have done that. Stephen played a lot better than he did, and that’s the way it was.”
Shaw was 3-for-9 for 21 yards in his first collegiate start. He also fumbled and was sacked once. Garcia, who entered the game in the second quarter and won back the starting job, finished 7-for-15 for 110 yards and rushed for 56 yards while leading six touchdown drives.
“I never said (Connor) is the best quarterback on the team, I said he won the preseason competition,” Spurrier said. “When you play the real games, that’s when it counts.”
Garcia has talked to Shaw about not letting the game’s outcome dishearten him, he said.
“He’s going to be fine,” Garcia said. “I told him not to worry about what everybody is saying if they are saying bad stuff. He just needs to get experience, and he’ll get plenty this year. He’ll be ready to go next year for sure.”
Garcia did not view Shaw’s start as a form of punishment, he said.
“Connor played better than me during the preseason,” Garcia said.
The senior was gratified, though, to see his teammates rally around him when he entered the game.
“I didn’t really say anything,” Garcia said. “I guess it was just my presence. I guess they are accustomed to me in the game situations. I feel like we gelled pretty well.”
As a former Heisman winner, Spurrier votes each year on who should receive college football’s most recognized trophy. He revealed Tuesday that he usually uses that vote on a player from his team. At South Carolina, he has voted for wide receivers Sidney Rice, Kenny McKinley and running back Marcus Lattimore, he said.
“I vote for whoever I want to,” Spurrier said.
Spur Antonio Allen was “most definitely” surprised not to be named the SEC’s defensive player of the week, he said.
Allen had 16 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a fumble return for a touchdown. LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who had 10 tackles, a fumble recovery, a blocked punt and scored a special teams touchdown against Oregon, won the award.
“I felt like I deserved it, but I really don’t get into all the politics,” Allen said.
Allen didn’t sound thrilled with the idea that backup DeVonte Holloman, who returns this week from suspension, might take away some of his snaps at spur.
“Like any other athlete, I love to compete,” Allen said. “I just want to be out there on the field. It’s good to have guys back, but I want to be out there on the field.”
Defensive end Melvin Ingram “is talking junk about how he’s leading the team in picks right now so somebody has to catch him to keep him quiet,” Holloman said.
Ingram has the Gamecocks’ only interception this season after picking off a pass late against East Carolina.
“I just pick with them,” Ingram said. “Make them work hard so they can catch interceptions.”’
Ingram, a senior, got the turnover because of his experience and game acumen, defensive line coach Brad Lawing said.
“Melvin saw that back leak out there,” Lawing said. “He said, ‘Coach I knew he was going to throw it to him.’ Melvin is quite an athlete, and he’s smart. He’s seen that play probably 100 times.”
NOT SO FAST
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward vetoed the decision to use starting safety D.J. Swearinger as the starting kickoff returner, Ward said.
“If he gets hurt playing special teams, we don’t have another safety we can count on to play 75 plays,” Ward said. “We have given up that duty until we get some depth back there.”
Special teams coach John Butler may not want Swearinger back now. The Gamecocks used Bruce Ellington and Kenny Miles as their kickoff returners, and Ellington averaged 27.5 yards on two returns, the second-best average in the SEC.