G.A. Mangus wants better play, not records

Coach G.A. Mangus shows focus on the task at hand and not on helping to set a record. South Carolina will travel on the road this weekend to Kentucky and Coach Mangus says the Gamecocks will work to play better football against their SEC East opponent.

If you ask G.A. Mangus, he's more concerned with his team's play than focusing on setting an SEC record.

Connor Shaw is five completions away from breaking the SEC record for most consecutive completions, but Coach Mangus is certainly worried about other things right now when asked about setting the record this weekend.

"If it happens in the flow of the game. We've got a job to do. We're playing an SEC East team that we've got to go up there and play good football and if it happens in the flow of the game, it happens."

Mangus and Shaw have a similar approach when it comes to talking about the SEC record. They both seem to make the statement, "if it happens in the flow of the game, it happens." Mangus echoed that statement more than once on Wednesday evening. He admits that everyone likes breaking a record but there's more important things that should be on the mind of the players.

"Everybody likes a record but we've got to go out there and do what were supposed to do to beat Kentucky. If it falls in the flow of the game then that's something we'll do. I can assure that it doesn't even phase him (Connor Shaw)."

Mangus was impressed with Shaw's performance against Missouri. He felt that the junior quarterback did an excellent job of reading the defense and taking what was given to him.

"He did a good job of taking what was given to him. They played a lot of soft zone there for a long time while taking away some of our deep throws. Predominately, they gave us some underneath stuff and you have to make that decision. Those guys that can get the ball down to the checkdown are the ones that play very well and the ones you want quarterbacking for you."

When Shaw's playing well, he's also moving the football on the ground. Shaw's running ability helps Coach Mangus see that sometimes the good plays can outweigh the bad. He mentioned how Shaw picked up three third-down plays on pass plays with his against Missouri when the play broke down. It enabled the Gamecocks to keep the drive alive and continue moving the football downfield.

Another big thing that has helped Shaw and the Gamecocks this year is the ability of the wide receivers to be more involved. The ball has been spread around to several different receivers and Mangus is pleased with that so far this season. Shaw's football intelligence has helped out in this aspect as well.

"Very pleased. Take what the defense can give you. Defense doesn't know who to prepare for. Connor's good at that. He's gonna look around and he's a smart guy who understands the game of football and going to take what the defense gives."

Nobody wants an injury to occur, but if Shaw were to go down again, Coach Mangus feels like they have a capable backup in Dylan Thompson. He understands the Vanderbilt game was a difficult situation but things got better the more opportunities he had to play.

"The Vanderbilt game he got thrown in a very difficult situation, he hadn't played. You've heard me say quarterbacks get better when they play. And every situation and every time they play, how they react to it and the next time they play is a determining factor to see if they've learned from it. Vanderbilt game it didn't go the way any of us wanted for that matter but he got a lot of reps the week of ECU game in practice and he played a lot and went out and had some good games. He threw some beautiful deep balls. The UAB game a couple of those should have been intercepted in the game but he settled down there and I've learned that. In a couple of games he gets a bit on the hyper end there and he needs to settle down. Each time he goes he'll continue to learn. It's nice to know we've got somebody who's got some experience."

While the quarterback position is considered a leadership position on the team, there are others who play a major role in the Gamecocks road success in recent years. Mangus feels like this Gamecock team is surrounded with leaders and it shows.

"Every good team has good leaders. When you have good leaders, they go on the road and treat it as a business trip. They handle themselves the right way and get themselves mentally ready to go on the road and go win. I think that's what you see. We've got a lot of leadership in our locker room and this football team."

The Gamecocks gave away the victory in their last trip to Lexington, Kentucky. This time, the Gamecocks will have a healthy Connor Shaw and a host of leaders to help the Gamecocks strive to play better starting this weekend against Kentucky.

Coach Mangus knows if you play better, things will take care of themselves on Saturday.

"We've got to get better every week and the scores will take care of themselves on Saturday."

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