Tag:Stephen Garcia
Posted on: March 15, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: March 15, 2011 6:03 pm
 

Stephen Garcia suspended for spring practice

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Spring practice began at South Carolina on Tuesday, and it seems that the Gamecocks are beginning their SEC East title defense without the quarterback that helped lead them to the SEC Championship game last December. Stephen Garcia was not at practice on Tuesday, as it seems he has been suspended for the nefarious "violation of team rules" by head coach Steve Spurrier.
Garcia has been suspended for the start of spring practice for a violation of team rules, a source with knowledge of the situation told The State. Garcia, a senior who is trying to hold off sophomore Connor Shaw this spring, could return to the team in time for Saturday’s scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Coach Steve Spurrier is expected to be available for comment following today’s practice.
It has been confirmed that Garcia's suspension will last at least a week.

As for what those team rules were, we can't be entirely sure, though we do have an idea. There were reports earlier this month that Garcia, during the week of South Carolina's appearance in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl against Florida State, held himself quite a party in his hotel room. According to the story, when his coaches found out about the party, they forced him to run off his hangover on a treadmill and thought about suspending him for the game, or at least holding him out for a series.

The suspension never happened, but Garcia did go on to have a rather terrible game for the Gamecocks.

Whether that story is true, or is the cause of this suspension, nobody knows yet, and we probably never will. What we do know is that this isn't the first time Stephen Garcia has been suspended for a spring practice, and that Spurrier has made no secret of the fact that Connor Shaw is going to have a chance to earn the starting job this spring. Being suspended isn't the best way for Garcia to hold on to it.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 2:14 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2011 3:18 pm
 

What I learned from the SEC: Bowl Edition

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. The SEC is still the best conference in college football.  Yes, the conference may have only gone 5-5 in bowl games this season, and it may have included a couple losses against a Conference USA team and a Big East team, but here is the stat that actually mattered: for the fifth straight year, the national champion calls the SEC home.  Oh, and let's not just ignore the fact that a twelve team league had ten teams playing in bowl games to begin with.  Fans of other conferences around the country may have been hoping the conference would get knocked down a peg this postseason, but prepare yourselves for plenty more "ESSSS  EEEEEEE SEEEEEE" chants in 2011.

2. The 2010 season belonged to Cam Newton and Auburn.  Whether the headlines were good or bad this season, the college football world seemed to revolve around a tiny town in eastern Alabama and the quarterback that caught a nation's eye.  It's somewhat fitting that on the final drive of the season, the one that gave Auburn its national championship, the one player who put the team on his back for most of the season had to play a secondary role thanks to being banged up.  For once, Cam Newton 's defense and his offense decided to carry him to the finish line.  We don't know for sure what Cam Newton's future will hold, but odds are that Newton is bound for the NFL.  How will Auburn fare next season without its Superman?

3. Alabama is still really good .  Honestly, if college football did have a playoff system in place of the bowls, would any of you have been shocked to see Alabama make it to another title game?  The Tide suffered three losses this season.  They came at the hands of South Carolina , LSU and Auburn .  When the worst loss of your season is against the SEC East champion, you didn't have a bad season.  Then the Tide went out and put an exclamation point on the year by pasting Michigan State -- a team with one loss and ranked in the top ten -- by 42 points.

4. The SEC East should be better next season.  While the SEC may have gone 5-5 as a whole during the bowl season, the SEC East was responsible for four of those losses.  The good news for the division is that things should improve a bit next year, as Georgia and Tennessee aren't likely to suffer two losing seasons in a row, South Carolina will still have Marcus Lattimore and won't have Stephen Garcia , and Florida might actually have an offensive system suited for its quarterback.  Well, if John Brantley stays.  Plus, with all the key players that Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas and LSU will be losing to the NFL this spring, the West shouldn't be nearly as dominant.
Posted on: January 1, 2011 1:35 am
 

Bowl Grades: Chick-Fil-A Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

South Carolina loses Marcus Lattimore to an early head injury and can't rally from a 13-0 hole, falling 26-17 to Florida State.

FLORIDA STATE

Offense: The Seminole offense rarely looked like a well-oiled machine, particularly after quarterback Christian Ponder left the game for good with a first-quarter concussion, and a few more touchdowns in place of field goals would have salted the game away sometime in the third quarter. But in a game defined by blown chances and mistakes on both sides, that the 'Noles managed not to screw up four potential (and eventually converted) Dustin Hopkins field goal opportunities counts for a lot, and backup E.J. Manuel's two clutch throws on FSU's game-clinching fourth-quarter drive -- one on third-and-eight to set up first-and-goal, the other to score the touchdown -- count for even more.

But what counts the most was the 218 yards rushing stunningly piled up on what had been the nation's eighth-ranked run defense. Even without any real passing threat once Ponder left the game, the Seminole line blasted hole after hole in the Gamecock front seven, and Chris Thompson took advantage to the tune of 147 game-changing yards. GRADE: B

Defense:
When FSU corner Greg Reid -- the game's best player by a wide, wide margin -- walloped Lattimore on Carolina's first drive to dislodge the ball, end a Gamecock scoring threat, and (cleanly) knock Steve Spurrier's biggest weapon out of the game, the tone was set. Maybe the Seminoles were going to give up some yards here and there (414 in all by the time the whistle blew), but it wasn't going to matter as long as they had a big play waiting ... and they nearly always did. The 'Nole pass rush recorded only two official sacks but harassed Stephen Garcia into poor throws all game long; the defensive backs turned three of those throws into interceptions; and Reid, a demon all night, separated Alshon Jeffery from the ball as well late in the third quarter for another crucial turnover, Carolina's fifth of the game. In short: yardage allowed, schmardage schmallowed. GRADE: A-

Coaching: In a game where both teams appeared equally motivated and (almost) equally sloppy, the star of the game from a coaching standpoint was FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, whose blitz packages the Carolina offensive line never developed an answer for. But credit also goes to Jimbo Fisher and his offensive staff for never asking the clearly-limited Manuel to do too much. GRADE: A-

SOUTH CAROLINA

Offense: Particularly considering they were forced to play nearly the entire game without the linchpin of their offense -- a situation that had already seen the Carolina offense roll over and die a couple of times this season -- the Gamecocks as a whole weren't that bad. 414 yards of offense ought to be worth a lot more than 17 points. But it's not when your quarterback has the kind of nightmare game Garcia had, throwing three picks-to-zero touchdowns, missing multiple open receivers, and generally looking every bit as lost as he'd looked in his previous two bowl starts (blowout losses to Iowa and UConn).

He didn't get a whole lot of help -- no Lattimore, Jeffrey's fumble, blown assignments in pass protection, etc. -- but it was Garcia's loose screws that first let the Gamecocks' wheels come off. GRADE: C-

Defense:
There shouldn't be much shame in the Gamecocks' defensive performance; allowing only 308 yards of total offense should be enough to win most games, and if not for a whole series of huge stands from the Carolina D following offensive (and special teams) miscues, the game would have been well out of hand before the halftime whistle.

At the same time, there might have been more time for a Gamecock comeback if not for all the clock burned off by Thompson's runs, and allowing Manuel to go 7-for-7 on the deciding touchdown drive directly after the offense had scored to cut the lead to 19-17 will stick in coordinator Ellis Thompson's craw all offseason. The Gamecocks were good, but it's not true to say they were good enough. GRADE: B

Coaching:
Spurrier's perenially lackadaisical approach to blitz protection caught up to him again, but aside from that, there's not much to take issue with in Carolina's coaching performance; the coaches can't be held responsible for Lattimore's sudden injury, Garcia having one of those games, the defensive line getting beat straight up in the running game, etc. Unlike the last two years, the Gamecocks at leats played like they wanted to be at their bowl game. GRADE: B+

FINAL GRADE:
The 2010 Chick-Fil-A Bowl provided some drama in the late-going, but between the insistence on South Carolina's part to hand the game over to Florida State and FSU's insistence on politely kicking another field goal to keep the Gamecocks in it anyway, you can't call it a classic. And with the final five minutes an anticlimax following Manuel's final touchdown toss, this blogger isn't sure he'd even call it "good." Grade: B

Posted on: December 4, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 6:37 pm
 

VIDEO: Hail Mary to save Auburn from mistakes?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Auburn is 30 minutes away from the BCS National Championship Game, up 28-14 on South Carolina at halftime of the SEC Championship game. But if the second 30 minutes are half as back-and-forth as the first, the Tigers will still have an awful lot of work to do to earn their trip to Glendale.

But they'll at least have momentum on their side after Cam Newton' s half-ending Hail Mary was batted and then caught by Darvin Adams in the end zone:




That play answered what had looked like a game-changing touchdown drive by Carolina, one capped by Stephen Garcia hitting Alshon Jeffrey on a one-yard slant to bring Carolina within 21-14 with 16 seconds left before the break. With the Gamecocks getting the ball first in the second half, the underdogs looked like they had recovered from a disastrous defensive first quarter that saw Newton account for three touchdowns as the Tigers racked up more than 200 yards in the first period alone.

One of those touchdowns was this 54-yarder to Adams:



But Adams also played a large role in letting Carolina off the mat, dropping a certain third-down conversion and later a touchdown pass Newton had floated in with precision. But he wasn't alone in making mistakes for the Tigers: Newton missed multiple open receivers, a Phillip Lutzenkirchen holding call negated a 3rd-and-1 inside the Carolina 5, and Wes Byrum missed a 36-yard field goal. The Tigers have been by far the dominant team on the stat sheet --- outgaining the Gamecocks 348 yards to 196 -- but as they learned themselves after coming back against an Alabama team that allowed missed first-half opportunities to become a huge second-half letdown, that didn't matter much with the boot never applied to the Gamecocks' throat.

The Hail Mary might change things. (At the very least, it redeemed Adams, who finished the half with an incredible 7 receptions for 215 yards and the pair of scores.) But unless they administer the knockout blow, they might still need a little more magic to seal their bid to Glendale.



Posted on: November 10, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Spurrier: don't listen to Garcia

Photo by Jerry Hinnen

One of the consistent knocks about Steve Spurrier 's coaching, going all the way back to his days rotating Noah Brindise and Doug Johnson on every snap at Florida , is that he's never made much of an effort to build the confidence of his quarterbacks. In fact, he's often seemed to make more of an effort to undermine that confidence, yanking them after minor errors and telling the press -- repeatedly -- that they could be benched at any time.

But at least he's limited that undermining to football-related matters. He'd never stoop to saying his quarterbacks off-field opinions were substandard, right? He'd never tell the world that, say, the statements of current South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia should simply be ignored as the ravings of an idiot?

He might :

Later, a reporter asked Spurrier if it was true – as quarterback Stephen Garcia said – that this game was the biggest in South Carolina history.

“No, that’s not true. Please don’t listen to Stephen all the time when he’s speaking,” Spurrier said.
So it's OK to listen to him ... some of the time? Or when he's not speaking?

What's really funny is that it's the opinion of this blogger that Garcia is correct, or very close to it. The Gamecocks don't have the most sterling football history (it was 1995 before they won their first bowl game) and in the 18 years since they left independence behind for the SEC , they've never had a better opportunity to finally earn a trip to the league championship game or a conference title. If winning this year's SEC East would be the biggest accomplishment in the football program's history -- and George Rogers ' Heisman and a 1969 ACC title seem to be just about the only serious contenders for that title -- then isn't this week's Florida tilt the biggest game in program history, almost by definition? If it's not, it's certainly on the shortlist.

It's understandable that Spurrier doesn't want to drive up the stakes for what loosk to be a difficult road win any further than he has to. But when it comes to getting an accurate portrayal of how much this game means to his program, listening to his quarterback looks like the right move.
HT: GTP .

Posted on: November 8, 2010 1:27 pm
 

Urban Meyer wants the most intense Blue Out ever

Posted by Tom Fornelli

In any other year, having a 4-3 record in the SEC would have you bound for the Chik-Fil-A or Gator Bowl, but not this year.  No, in 2010, thanks to an SEC East division gone ham, 4-3 is good enough to have you playing for a division title.  Which is exactly where Florida finds itself this week, as its game against South Carolina in The Swamp this weekend is for a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship.

The Swamp hasn't been as kind to the Gators this season, as Florida is only 3-2 at home, and 1-2 against SEC opponents.  So in other words, there's just something missing from The Swamp's ecosystem, and Urban Meyer has figured out what that is.  The Swamp NEEDS MORE BLUE.

"I've never really done this, but I want to make this the most intense stadium in the history of Florida football this Saturday," said the coach on his weekly television show. "This is for the SEC Championship.

"Get there early. I want everybody to wear blue — head to toe — including our players."

Yes, we all saw how well the Black Out at Rice-Eccles Stadium worked for Utah against TCU, so surely this is exactly what the Gators need to take care of the Gamecocks and get to Atlanta.  I would think that a better option for the Gators would be to kidnap Marcus Lattimore, or have a few cases of Icehouse delivered to Stephen Garcia on Friday night.

Or, if that goes against Urban's moral compass, I guess he could call the New York Times and tell them that Steve Spurrier paid $200,000 for Lattimore.
Posted on: October 24, 2010 1:01 am
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct. 23)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Cam Newton is the greatest thing to happen to college football since Denard Robinson.   So this isn't exactly breaking news, but OMG CAM NEWTON IS FREAKING AWESOME.  I knew going into Saturday's game that the only way LSU could beat Auburn would be if they stopped Cam Newton, but I also knew that stopping Cam Newton is like trying to stop the Earth from spinning.  Unless Les Miles had control over a meteor -- and he might -- it just wasn't going to happen.  We're only 8 weeks into the season and Newton has already set the single-season rushing mark for a quarterback in the SEC with 1,077 yards.  If he keeps playing like this he should be allowed to take any laptop he wants.  Hell, he can have mine.

2. Nick Fairley is pretty special too.
  I said it during the game on Saturday, and I'll say it again here.  Nick Fairley just isn't going to stop until he has the head of every quarterback in the SEC mounted on his wall.  As great as Newton played on Saturday, the reason Auburn won was because every time LSU dropped back to pass, Nick Fairley was in the back field flinging people around like bean bags.

3. LSU only has so much "luck."
  I knew it was going to be hard for LSU to survive the entire season without a loss with a passing attack that works more like a retreat, and it came to a head on Saturday in Auburn.  Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson were only able to complete 15-of-28 passes for 89 yards.  That's 3.2 yards per attempt.  Against an Auburn secondary that was absolutely torched by Kentucky and Arkansas over the last two weeks.

4. South Carolina really needs Marcus Lattimore. 
We saw South Carolina struggle without Marcus Lattimore last week, succumbing to Kentucky and blowing an 18-point lead in the second half, and the Gamecocks struggled again against Vanderbilt without Lattimore this week.  Yes, South Carolina won the game, but it had a lot harder time handling Vandy than it should have.  The Gamecocks were only able to manage 2.9 yards per carry, and had to rely on Stephen Garcia.   That may work against Vanderbilt, but trust me, having to rely on Stephen Garcia to win games is rarely a good idea.

5. Georgia may just win the SEC East.  It's hard to believe that the Bulldogs are still alive, but they are, and they're dangerous.  They hung 40 points on an SEC opponent for the third straight week and thanks to four Kentucky turnovers, only needed 290 yards of offense to do it.  Oh, and if Washaun Ealey scores five touchdowns in every game, Georgia is going to be tough to beat.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 12:23 am
 

What I learned from the SEC (Oct 16)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Parity has wrought havoc in the SEC.
  Remember the days when there was no question that the SEC was the class conference in college football?  Well, that either no longer applies to the conference, or everybody has become so good that everybody can beat everybody.  No matter which side of the argument you fall on, one thing is clear: when it comes to who is going to win the conference, none of us know anything.

2. The SEC East is up for grabs. Sticking with the parity theme, while we know that the SEC West is going to finish with either LSU, Auburn or Alabama on top, the SEC East can be had for the taking by anybody who wants it.  South Carolina may have lost to Kentucky on Saturday night, but no matter, if it wins out it's still theirs.  Right behind the Gamecocks is Florida, who have lost three in a row, and Georgia.   The same Georgia team that we all thought might have a new head coach by the end of the season.

3. Cam Newton is a monster.   Newton had a monster performance against Arkansas on Saturday, leading the Tigers to 65 points -- the first time that Auburn's hung 60 on an SEC opponent since they did it to Florida in 1970.  With all the losses in the top 10 this week, it's safe to say that Newton will be on top of the Heisman list come Monday.  The only question is how long will his defense let him stay there?

4. Florida REALLY wishes it still had Cam Newton.
You really do have to wonder how much time Steve Addazio has left in Gainesville following another anemic performance from the Gators offense against Mississippi State.   Anytime your defense holds an opponent to 10 points in your building, you have to win that game.  Florida just couldn't get it done.  It's time to go back to the drawing board, and the Gators may need to put the dry erase marker in somebody else's hand.

5. Marcus Lattimore is the key to South Carolina's offense.
  Lattimore had 212 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against Kentucky, and South Carolina had a 28-10 lead.  Then Lattimore spent the second half on the bench on the second half, and the Gamecocks couldn't do anything on offense, getting outscored 21-0 in the second half and losing.  Leaving the ball in the hands of Stephen Garcia is just not a winning formula.
 
 
 
 
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