Wednesday practice report
South Carolina may have shown a little more spirit than Steve Spurrier would have liked, though. There was a minor scuffle that broke out during drills. Fortunately, nothing major came of the incident, in part, Spurrier joked, because "no punches… were connected, I guess a few were thrown." Despite the action on the practice fields, Spurrier again found himself having to talk about redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia. It was announced Tuesday that Garcia is suspended from team activities until August 15. Spurrier expressed frustration with having to once again talk about his third string quarterback, and explained why he was willing to abide by the university's decisions.
"I am sure that Stephen Garcia has set a record for the most publicity for a South Carolina football player that has never played a down," Spurrier said. "I really thought that Stephen should be treated like any other student. I did not want to try to influence whatever discipline he would receive. I really thought in this case the university should make the call, and I was going to accept whatever it was. He's got a lot of things to do to return, and I guess we'll find out if he can accomplish all these requirements to come back in August."
Following Garcia's arrest for keying a visiting professor's car last spring, Spurrier said that the quarterback had used up his last chance, and if he did anything else he would be off the team. Spurrier explained why Garcia is getting what would seem to be still another chance.
"What is ‘anything else?' Having a beer when he's underage?" Spurrier asked. "We all weigh every situation and go from there. We're going to try and see if he can change his ways."
Garcia's suspension will cost him the rest of spring practice, all of summer workouts, and more than half of fall workouts. The missed time will put him significantly behind the rest of the team, and almost certainly prevent him from challenging for the starting quarterback job. It may also mean that incoming freshman Aramis Hillary will be the third string quarterback. Spurrier has raved about Hillary since signing day, and the athletic signal-caller has attended several practices and team meetings this spring, despite not being enrolled at Carolina.
"Hillary's the third man right now, probably; I'm coaching him on the side," said Spurrier. "Aramis is one of those young men who loves everything about football. He usually carries the football with him to school every day. He'll be ready to go. Coach [David] Reaves is going to get him a [playbook] this weekend."
Spurrier added that he expects incoming freshman Reid McCollum to "probably" redshirt his first season.
Starting left tackle Jamon Meredith spent the night working at right guard. The change is not permanent, however. The coaching staff is just trying to add depth and versatility to the offensive line by getting Meredith ready to play multiple positions.
"He ought to be able to play all four positions [except center]," explained Spurrier. "You need to double train guys at a lot of positions. Injuries will happen and somebody's got to step in there and play."
- Running back Mike Davis and defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye both missed practice. Davis had class, and Ajiboye was sick.
- Former quarterback Blake Mitchell, who participated in the USC pro day earlier Wednesday, attended practice, and spent time talking to injured linebacker Dustin Lindsey afterwards.
- Offensive lineman Heath Batchelor, who was with Garcia when both were ticketed for underage drinking, served a one practice suspension Wednesday night. Batchelor claimed he was not drinking with Garcia, and had just come by to see his teammate.
- The Gamecocks will practice Friday at 4:15 PM and then scrimmage at 10 AM Saturday morning.
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