COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is proud he's part of school history, helping lead the Gamecocks to their most wins in a two-year stretch.
After consecutive 11-victory seasons and no Southeastern Conference division titles, Shaw said the team is seeking that next step — the phrase they wear on their workout shirts — to bigger things. Shaw, whose 17-3 as a starter, acknowledged the program unprecedented success.
"But after two season of it, you want more," Shaw said. "You get a little taste of it and you want more."
From what Shaw's seen in offseason workouts, he believes the Gamecocks are capable of winning the SEC Eastern Division for the second time in four seasons. "Our goal," he says, "is to get to Atlanta. We'll see what happens from there."
South Carolina has had nearly full attendance at voluntary workouts, according to Shaw. There's an added intensity to make the work count as the players close in on fall practice, which begins Aug. 2.
The players showed off their routine to fans in a "Lift For Life" event at the South Carolina Fieldhouse on Thursday night. The team's younger players took part in "Pigskin Poets," at the Richland County Library on Friday, reading and signing autographs for elementary school children.
"Everybody's been here. Everybody's working hard," fullback Connor McLaurin said. "We know we've got goals and we work every day to get better. When the season's here, then we'll get rolling."
Some expected South Carolina to get rolling to an SEC title much quicker than coach Steve Spurrier's ninth season.
The Gamecocks reached their first-ever league-title game in 2010 and were overwhelmed, 56-17, by an Auburn team on the way to a national title. South Carolina was favored to return as East champs the next season, but defeats to the Tigers and Arkansas kept them from the Georgia Dome.
The Gamecocks opened last season 6-0, including a 35-7 showdown victory over Georgia that had them on the fast track to the SEC championship game. Consecutive losses at LSU and Florida relegated them to third in the division behind the Bulldogs and Gators.