Potentially down starting QB Connor Shaw for the next couple of weeks, South Carolina's passing game took another hit with the extended suspension of a talented receiver.
According to Willie Smith of the Greenville News, South Carolina has suspended Shaq Roland, one of its most important offensive players, for two additional games:
Shaq Roland will be suspended for 2 more games. #Gamecocks— Willie Smith (@willie_t_smith) October 1, 2013
Roland didn't make the trip to Central Florida last weekend for an unspecified violation of team rules, per The Big Spur:
A South Carolina spokesman has confirmed our report that Shaq Roland did not make the trip. Violation of athletics department policy.— TheBigSpur.com (@TheBigSpur247) September 28, 2013
The Gamecocks were able to survive and advance in Week 5, beating a scrappy Central Florida team by three, but they lost their starting QB in the process.
According to Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com, Shaw will miss the next one or two games with a sprained right shoulder. That being said, according to Smith, Spurrier thinks Shaw might be able to come back earlier than expected:
Spurrier says looks like Connor Shaw is healthy and available to play. Doesn't know who will start. #Gamecocks— Willie Smith (@willie_t_smith) October 1, 2013
If Shaw is out, though, that puts the onus of the passing game squarely on backup Dylan Thompson, who is not short on talent or experience but might struggle without Roland around to help out and make big plays.
Only a sophomore, Roland got off to a strong start in his second season. He's recorded stats in just three games, and he's notched just eight receptions, but already he has 161 yards (an average of 20.1 per catch).
Even without Roland and Shaw this upcoming Saturday, South Carolina should be able to survive, if not dominate, at home against Kentucky. The Wildcats will be wildly overmatched at every other position and shouldn't be able to hang.
But the following week, in the second game of Roland's suspension, South Carolina travels to play a plucky Arkansas team that could give it some fits.
If Shaw remains hurt and the passing game struggles to get going in Fayetteville, Roland's ill-timed suspension could throw a wrench in South Carolina's whole season.