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.