Sore shoulder may put Shaw on shelf vs. East Carolina

Just when it looked as if South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier was finally going to start a season without any quarterback questions marks, Gamecocks starter Connor Shaw’s status is “wait and see” for Saturday’s home opener against East Carolina.

Shaw suffered a deep bone bruise in his right shoulder during South Carolina’s season opener at Vanderbilt, but he returned to lead the Gamecocks to a 17-13 win over the Commodores.

But soreness has set in to the point that Shaw was unable to lift his throwing arm over his head as of Saturday. He will nt practice until Wednesday at the earliest as team doctors have given the returning starter three or four days to heal. A decision will come later this week.

After the Stephen Garcia experiment finally ended last mid-season after four years of guessing whether or not he would be the team’s starter combined with Spurrier’s longstanding urge to play revolving quarterbacks, the Gamecocks finally entered a season knowing that Shaw was their man.

But one shot to shoulder shattered South Carolina’s sense of security. If Shaw, a dual-threat QB who can beat you with his healthy arm or feet, can’t suit up against the Pirates, the Gamecocks face the frighting prospect of starting freshman Dylan Thompson or untested senior Seth Strickland on Saturday.

The duo failed to complete a single pass in relief of Shaw, going a combined 0-for-4 against Vanderbilt. Shaw completed an efficient 7 of 11 for 67 yards, but he did most of his damage running against the Commodores’ defense, which was keying on running back Marcus Lattimore. They combined for 202 yards on the ground.

One small bit of solace for the Gamecocks is that the injury comes against a lesser opponent than most on their schedule. East Carolina scored a 35-13 win over FBS power Appalachian State on Saturday, but the Gamecocks have traditionally faced SEC East rival Georgia on the second week of the season. Ironically, the Pirates were pounding the Gamecocks in last season’s opener with Shaw as the starter until he lost his job to Garcia.

Another positive is Shaw’s hard-nosed attitude, which he has displayed time after time in leading the Gamecocks to their record 10th win last season. If he can get his arm from the center’s butt to Lattimore’s hands, he’ll be the starter.

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