Steve Spurrier thinks the secret to getting Connor Shaw to play better than he has the past two games might be to put Dylan Thompson in the game for a series or two against Coastal Carolina. Spurrier began the 2013 with the intention to have Thompson play in every game but abandoned the approach after the junior quarterback's failed drive against Kentucky allowed the Wildcats to claw their way back into the game.
"We're gonna play Dylan [Thompson] a little bit this week." Steve Spurrier said on Tuesday during his weekly press conference. "I told Connor [Shaw] yesterday that we're going to play Dylan. I said, 'You play better when you know Dylan is going to play.' And he does. He plays better. So Dylan is going to play somewhere in the first or second quarter, and we'll see what happens."
When Shaw/Thompson both played this season NOT due to CS injury OR DT started, Shaw is 69.86% passing, 11 TD, 0 INT.— Chris Clark (@GCChrisClark) November 19, 2013
Since entering the Missouri game in the third quarter and keying South Carolina's amazing come-from-behind victory, Connor Shaw has not been his usual, incredibly efficient self. During the last two games -- ugly wins against Mississippi State and Florida -- Shaw has completed just 50 percent of his passes, far short of his 60 percent career average. His performance against the Gators was particularly puzzling, as the Gamecocks' senior signal-caller was routinely overthrowing open receivers--something he has never had a problem with to this point in his career.
"His footwork was off last week," Spurrier explained. "I don't know why. His steps were off. He was off-balance throwing. I don't know why. He can throw a lot better than he threw last week, and maybe having Dylan play a series or two will help him out."
Spurrier also pointed out South Caroilna's struggles on third downs during the last two games. Through the first eight games of the season, the Gamecocks were converting 47 percent of their third downs, but against Florida and Mississippi State, they kept the chains moving on third down just 22 percent of the time. This is likely due, in part, to the fact that Connor Shaw hasn't quite fully recovered from spraining a pair of ligaments in his right knee on Oct. 19, preventing him from scrambling for first downs when nothing is developing downfield.
"He takes off running, but he don't make the first downs."
Perhaps this will give Spurrier the cover he needs to rest Connor Shaw for much of the game without being accused of taking the Chanticleers lightly.