published Thursday, July 21st, 2011

SEC: South Carolina counting on Garcia

HOOVER, Ala. — Steve Spurrier never has been overly patient with quarterbacks during games, but he has been patient with one away from the field.

South Carolina fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia has been suspended five times during his career, but he is expected to start Sept. 3 when the Gamecocks open against East Carolina in Charlotte. Garcia has been suspended twice this year, most recently in April after the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder from Tampa arrived at a mandatory leadership similar with alcohol on his breath and was unruly.

"I guess we don't want to kick him out for stupidity," Spurrier said Wednesday at SEC media days. "Basically we do believe that he's a good kid and a good person. He's already graduated. With this latest incident, we told him he could go play somewhere else if he wanted to, but he wants to stay.

"He's really made some lifestyle changes to stay, and hopefully it will keep up."

Garcia threw for 3,059 yards a year ago, the most of any returning SEC quarterback, and for 20 touchdowns. More importantly, he helped lead the Gamecocks to their first SEC East Division title.

Spurrier did say that Garcia could be challenged in preseason camp by sophomore Connor Shaw.

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about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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