Quarterback Connor Shaw returned to the practice field Wednesday, but his status for Saturday’s game against Clemson has yet to be finalized.
“He threw it around, so we’ll see, but knowing Connor, I would imagine he’ll probably be ready to do something on Saturday,” quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus said following Wednesday evening’s practice.
Shaw has been hobbled for several weeks by a foot injury which he aggravated against Wofford.
“He’s a tough kid,” Mangus said. “He goes and does his job.”
Backup Dylan Thompson has taken most of the reps this week in practice, Mangus said.
“Dylan’s a little sneakier running around than people give him credit for,” Mangus said. “He threw it well today. Mentally he’s ready to roll. We’ll get him some more reps tomorrow and hopefully both of them will be ready to roll.”
Putting it behind them
Offensive line coach Shawn Elliott is not worried that his unit’s uneven performance against FCS Wofford last week will carry over to Saturday’s game against the Tigers, he said.
“You would always like to play better, I don’t think there’s any question about that, but I think we will go out there with a little different mindset than we had a week ago,” Elliott said. “That’s not taking anything away from Wofford, they are a fine football team, but there are going to be some juices flowing Saturday night that haven’t been flowing in a while, and I’m ready to see it.”
Defensive players were not scheduled to speak to the media after Wednesday’s practice, but end Jadeveon Clowney, who sat out last week due to foot and knee injuries, made a point to walk by reporters and say he would be ready to play the Tigers.
“One-hundred percent Saturday,” Clowney said. “Put that in the paper.”
Defensive line coach Brad Lawing is the longest-serving coach on South Carolina’s staff, having served two stints with the Gamecocks, and he’ll participate in his 17th South Carolina-Clemson game on Saturday.
What has he learned from all that time in the rivalry?
“They are all big,” Lawing said. “When you play your in-state rival it has a special significance to it, but all games are big. In 20 years, when they look back at the record, a lot of times they don’t even know who you played. They all count.”
For all the talk about Clemson’s potent and quick strike offense, the counterpoint is the impact that has on the Tigers’ defense. Clemson is No. 69 in the country in yards allowed (408 per game), and part of the reason for that is its opponents have averaged more than 70 plays per game.
“Their defense has to play a lot, but that’s what happens when you score within a minute or two minutes, then your defense comes out,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “They play a little bit more. I always worry about that. Not to the point that we don’t score real fast. You think you can hit a long pass, you try to hit it.”
South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward doesn’t envy Clemson counterpart Brent Venables, he said.
“I’d rather be the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech or Wofford,” Ward joked, referencing two triple-option teams whose offenses hold onto the ball for long stretches of time.