Spurrier claiming QB Garcia on last leg
Posted: Friday, June 3, 2011 9:01 pm
By: By MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer
DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — Suspended South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is back on campus and working out with teammates.
He’s on a very short leash, though.
Coach Steve Spurrier said Wednesday that Garcia has no margin for error.
“One more, he’d be finished,” Spurrier said at the Southeastern Conference’s annual meetings. “He’s got some guidelines he has to follow or he knows he’s finished. Hopefully he can do that.”
Garcia was suspended for the fifth time in his college career — and second time during spring practice — on April 6 after an incident at a life skills seminar.
Garcia’s status will be reevaluated before fall camp opens. The first workout for the defending Southeastern Conference Eastern Division champions is Aug. 3.
Spurrier said “it’s too early” to determine how Garcia has responded from his latest suspension.
“The president and the athletic director, we’re all hoping he can act in a proper way,” Spurrier said.
If eligible, Garcia is the SEC’s returning leader in yards passing with 3,059 in 2010. He completed more than 64 percent of his passes with 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Garcia was instrumental in last season’s division title and may have had his best game in a 35-21 upset of then-No. 1 Alabama, South Carolina’s first victory over a top-ranked team.
South Carolina returns two of the SEC’s top playmakers in tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery. An experienced quarterback would make the Gamecocks a strong contender to reach the SEC title game again.
Garcia, though, hasn’t always shown the leadership Spurrier has wanted through the years. Garcia was suspended twice during his first six weeks on campus. He earned a third suspension a season later before ever starting a game.
Garcia had seemed to find his poise off the field as a sophomore and junior to become the Gamecocks’ established quarterback. He has started the past 28 games. But Garcia was suspended in March for violating team rules during South Carolina’s time at the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, and he pledged he was done making headlines off the field.
But less than two weeks later, Garcia was out again.
“From what I understand, he’s doing all the things the president and athletic director and I have asked him to do,” Spurrier said.
If Garcia doesn’t make it back, Spurrier said he has “full confidence” in backup Connor Shaw.
“If Garcia’s not there, Connor Shaw will be ready to go,” the head ball coach said.