The trick for South Carolina’s offense this season is to become a more power running team as quarterback Connor Shaw, a strong runner, evolves in the passing game.
“We can do both,” Shaw said.
The sound is confident for two reasons. First, running back Marcus Lattimore, who amazed the SEC with a 1,197-yard freshman season, is expected to return at full strength this season. He had gained 818 yards when in the seventh game went down with a season-ending knee injury.
That didn’t prevent the Gamecocks from having one of the best seasons in the program’s history, capping an 11-2 season with a victory over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
Part of that was Shaw’s rapid improvement. In his second career start, Shaw had an SEC player of the week performance with four touchdown passes against Kentucky.
Over the final month of the season, Shaw has some of the SEC’s best passing numbers, and finished the year with an 8-1 record as a starter, competing 65.4 percent and throwing 14 touchdown passes.
Shaw wants to improve those numbers while reducing the rushing figures of 671 yards and eight touchdowns.
“There were times last year when I was hesitant and not comfortable early on, so I’d run,” Shaw said. “But this year I’m going to rely on my arm more than my legs.”