Commentary

Spring film review: Shaw struggles

A review of spring games reveals ominous signs for Gamecocks and four other teams

Updated: May 10, 2011, 1:47 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Connor ShawFrankie Creel/US PresswireConnor Shaw struggled during the Gamecocks' spring game.

Last week's spring game film review took a look at some teams and players that exhibited promising signs on the biggest offseason stage.

This week's edition will examine teams and players that did not perform as well under that spotlight. These critiques do come with the caveat that they are based on small sample sizes. That means they should not be leaned upon too heavily as a definite indicator of future performance, but they do offer some cause for concern.

South Carolina Gamecocks -- Connor Shaw

In some ways, it is rather surprising that Shaw is just now becoming the Gamecocks' starting quarterback (of course, there's still the chance Stephen Garcia returns to the team and retakes his job). Coach Steve Spurrier has a history of playing young passers (see: Danny Wuerffel, Rex Grossman), and because Garcia has had multiple off-field issues over the past couple of years, it would seem that Shaw would have had ample opportunity to seize the No. 1 spot prior Garcia's latest suspension.

The spring game offered evidence as to why that didn't happen. Shaw had the lowest passer rating (129.94) of any of the Gamecocks' quarterbacks. He also had one bad decision (defined as a mistake that leads either to a turnover or a near turnover) in the 21 pass plays that were televised. That equates to a 4.7 percent bad decision rate, a total that is appreciably higher than what Garcia posted in a five-game tape breakdown prior to last season.

To put it another way, a bad decision rate of that level over the course of a 500-pass attempt season would mean roughly 24 bad decisions. If half of those turned into interceptions (which is a good rule of thumb on bad decisions), it would mean 12 picks on quarterback errors alone. Add in the interceptions that occur via other methods (i.e. inaccurate passes, tipped aerials, etc.), and Shaw would almost certainly post more interceptions than Garcia did last season (14).