Garcia Ousted at South Carolina

Steve Spurrier is anything but conventional.  The South Carolina coach is never one to shy away from a mic or television camera.  This week began like no other for the “ole ball coach.”

Finally, after 5 tumultuous years of dealing with quarterback Steve Garcia, and suspending him 5 times, Spurrier cut him loose.  The official reason given by Athletic director Eric Hyman was Garcia got his walking papers after the fifth-year senior failed to meet agreed-upon guidelines.  Supposedly those guidelines were set up after Garcia’s 4th suspension.

The Associated Press is reporting Garcia was dismissed Tuesday for failing an alcohol test.  This same source told the AP Garcia had agreed to undergo periodic tests for the presence of any alcohol as a condition of his reinstatement.  For the school, the failed test was the last straw.

Garcia was obviously Spurrier’s biggest challenge since becoming a head coach.  He has the reputation of being hard on his quarterbacks, but Garcia constantly tested Spurrier’s patience.  The dismissal ends a turbulent tenure for the once-promising quarterback,

Garcia led South Carolina to the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division and they were the favorites to do it again this season.  He threw for 3,059 yards and 20 TDs a year ago.

Over his career, Garcia started 34 games for the Gamecocks since arriving on campus in 2007. He started the first four games this season but was demoted to second string behind sophomore Connor Shaw on Oct. 3 for inconsistent play and did not take part in a 54-3 blowout of Kentucky last Saturday.

Spurrier probably knew what was coming Monday during his weekly press conference.  Maybe because of that he chose to take the spotlight away from the team.

Before the weekly foray was to begin, Spurrier announced he had a problem with a reporter in the room.  Spurrier refused to sit because of the presence of a columnist from The State newspaper whom Spurrier did not name.  Spurrier claimed the reporter was trying to hurt the program.

Spurrier often shows his feelings on the field, but he is guarded off it.  This time it appears the pressure of what is going on with Garcia is getting the best of him.

The rant over the reporter might have been a calculated effort by Spurrier to change the story a day before the actual events transpired.  It is possible Spurrier wanted to be the story to save face over Garcia being dismissed from the team the following day.  It might have worked had the events happened on the same day.

Now reporters are bashing Spurrier for not dumping Garcia before this.  Many in the media and alumni feel if Garcia had been dealt with years ago the problems now would not have happened.  That is an easy path to take.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

Garcia caused his own problems.  Sure Spurrier could have cut him loose earlier, but some coaches feel they need to have a handle on a player at all times to make them a better person.  Perhaps that is what Spurrier was thinking about Garcia.

Nevertheless Garcia is gone and isn’t Spurrier’s problem any longer.

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