COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier is praising quarterback Connor Shaw a little more than a week after he sent him to the bench.
Shaw threw three touchdowns passes and posted a career-best 356 passing yards in a win over Tennessee last weekend and also rushed for a score. This came a week after he was benched in the second half of a disastrous loss at Florida that all but eliminated the Gamecocks from the SEC East race.
After Wednesday's practice, Spurrier called the Tennessee game Shaw's best of the season.
"Coach John Wooden (said) the coach's greatest ally is the bench. Connor got benched. He didnt sit around and mope or pout or cry. He figured out what he needed to do better and worked on it last week and had his best game," said Spurrier. "When a coach benches a guy, that's what a coach has to do. Just because a guy goes to the bench doesn't mean he's finished by any means. It means he needs to start playing a little better and play the way the coaches ask him to play. I think going to the bench helped him."
Shaw is currently nursing a sprained foot and has been placed in a boot as USC sits idle during the team's bye week. Spurrier said Shaw will be full speed by next Monday as the team begins preparation for their Nov. 10 game against Arkansas.
Spurrier also took a jab at critics who have questioned his handling of his players.
"When a coach benches a guy some of you (media people) think 'Oh isn't that mean of him to take him out of the game.' No it's what a coach has to do is get guys on the bench if they're not playing the way the coaches asks them to play."
Shaw has passed for 1,338 yards and is completing 66 percent of his passes this season. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes and five interceptions in nine games.