QB battle continues into game week

After reportedly Stephen Garcia's best summer as a Gamecock, no one really expected sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw to beat out the fifth-year senior. But Shaw has done enough in the scrimmages to at least make head coach Steve Spurrier consider him.

With less than a week until the Gamecocks' highly anticipated bout at Bank of America Stadium against ECU, there's still one big, fat question mark remaining: Who will be behind center at the start of Carolina's most hyped season in school history?

Head coach Steve Spurrier has indicated that although he's not sure who will start and play the majority of the game, both will see action.

Both sophomore Connor Shaw and fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia have accepted that the only thing they can do at this point is perform at the highest level possible and be ready to go.

"He's just telling us to come out and compete, and if he happens to call for us, both of us are right here and ready to go," Shaw said.

"It is what it is. We've been doing this for two years ago and we know how to deal with it, so there's really nothing to it," Garcia said after their fourth and final scrimmage of the fall.

During that scrimmage, Garcia was outperformed, at least statistically, by his younger counterpart who went eight-for-nine passing and took just one sack, compared to Garcia's four in addition to "a couple mental errors" according to Spurrier.

Shaw says he's made strides over the summer and fall and even feels like he has more experience under his belt than just one season and two offseason camps.

"I feel like I've made major strides and its carried on in the scrimmages…" he said. "Right now I'm much more relaxed and comfortable. I feel like I've been here for a few years."

The main thing he's worked to improve since the end of last season was his accuracy on the deep ball. And while Marcus Lattimore insists the team is well off with either quarterback on the field, he acknowledges the improvements Shaw has shown in camp.

"Connor has been throwing some good deep balls. Its really down to the wire with those two," Lattimore said. "I'll be happy with whoever plays but Connor has been throwing some real good deep balls and making some good decisions."

The pros and cons with the fifth-year senior are clear - day and night, if you will. He's been in the program for five years and made a team high 30 starts. With so much experience under his belt, he should have a firmer grasp of the offense than any one else. But his off the field issues have been even more well documented, and his ability to maintain focus and lead the team to a conference championship have been doubted.

With that experience, Garcia is more than likely to be named the Gamecocks' starter this week. But Shaw has done enough to at least give Spurrier something to think about.

Spurrier has said he'll announce a starter some time in the beginning of this week.

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