South Carolina Football: The Gamecocks Should Be Careful with Connor Shaw

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 7, 2012

South Carolina QB Connor Shaw
South Carolina QB Connor ShawFrederick Breedon/Getty Images

It seems like ages ago when we saw South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw open the season with a gutty performance, playing through a shoulder bruise to lead the Gamecocks to a 17-14 win over Vanderbilt in Nashville. 

Here we are eight days later, and Shaw's status for Week 2 vs. East Carolina is still uncertain.

According to The Greenville (S.C.) News, the junior signal-caller for the Gamecocks threw on Wednesday but is a game-time decision for head coach Steve Spurrier.

So should Spurrier run Shaw out there or roll the dice with backup Dylan Thompson?

If he's pain-free, Spurrier should run him out there. South Carolina certainly needs work offensively, and East Carolina can provide a nice tune-up. 

However, if he has any pain at all on Saturday, Spurrier should rest him.

If Shaw isn't 100 percent, South Carolina's offense is going to look drastically different, for no other reason than you'd have to assume that the number of zone reads that Shaw runs against the Pirates would be minimal.

It's still important for Shaw to develop chemistry with several of his new receivers, which is exactly why he should play if he feels good.

But if his shoulder hurts and he's unable to throw in the same manner he does when he's healthy, would that even happen against East Carolina?

Probably not.

Because of that, it's probably best for South Carolina long-term to start Thompson and let Shaw rest up unless the Pirates put up a significant challenge.

Perception is reality in college football, and because the SEC has earned the perception as the nation's best conference, style points don't matter for South Carolina.

If he's not 100 percent, don't push it. Shaw and the South Carolina Gamecocks will be better off in the long run.