COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — There's no controversy for South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, not concerning the status of starting quarterback Connor Shaw or the Southeastern Conference's suspension of safety D.J. Swearinger.
Spurrier said Tuesday Shaw would start Saturday when the seventh-ranked Gamecocks (3-0, 1-0 SEC) face Misssouri. He also didn't take too much issue with the league's one-game suspension of Swearinger for a helmet-to-helmet hit on UAB's Patrick Hearn last week.
"Five, 10 years ago, they would call that 'it's part of football,' but it's not," Spurrier said of Swearinger's hit.
Freshman T.J. Gurley will start for Swearinger, who had a 65-yard fumble return touchdown in the 49-6 victory over UAB.
"We're going to miss one of our brothers out there," Gamecocks linebacker Shaq Wilson said. "But our defense is 11 people to the ball. We just have to go out there and be able to communicate, keep guys positive."
Spurrier said Shaw will bring plenty of positives to South Carolina's offense, despite the injury to his right, throwing shoulder. The quarterback was first hurt in the Gamecocks' opener against Vanderbilt last month. He missed the next game, a 48-10 win over East Carolina, before starting against the Blazers. Shaw took another big hit on his shoulder right in the UAB game before halftime and did not return for the second half.
Shaw said afterward he had a hairline fracture in the shoulder.
Dylan Thompson has thrown for 507 yards and five touchdowns in relief of Shaw the past two games. Still, Spurrier said Shaw is ready to play against the Tigers (2-1, 0-1).
"Connor Shaw was throwing the ball around very well" Monday night, Spurrier said. "He'll start. He's fine. If there's a place for Dylan to come in the game and help us try to beat Missouri, we'll certainly consider that."
Shaw's running ability has been critical to South Carolina's rise the past two years. Despite the injury, Shaw rushed for 92 yards against Vanderbilt and led the game-clinching touchdown drive in South Carolina's 17-13 victory.
Shaw, perhaps worried about his injured shoulder, rushed only five times against UAB. Spurrier acknowledged without that dimension, the Gamecocks' offense won't be as good. Spurrier also won't alter the game plan to protect Shaw's shoulder.