Steve Spurrier is really letting Stephen Garcia have it. The Head Ball coach has always been openly critical of all of his quarterbacks, Garcia included, but he has really upped the ante the past couple of weeks. Spurrier ripped Garcia to ESPN’s Chris Low last week and following the Garnet and Black game Saturday he continued to lob not so subtle barbs at his junior signal caller.
Steve Spurrier challenges Garcia
Garcia’s response? Well, he played average, at best, in the spring game and during the postgame interview he was clearly unhappy with the comments from his head coach.
Stephen Garcia responds to Spurrier
You get the impression that Garcia is starting to feel like the whipping boy here. Somehow he is getting the brunt, or maybe even all of the blame for the offenses struggles. So is it fair? Does Garcia deserve and need the kick in the gluteus maximus?
Last season, in his first full year as a starting quarterback Garcia passed for 2,733 yards (2nd in the SEC), 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He finished third in the SEC in total offense behind Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow. The Gamecocks finished second in the conference in passing yards per game (234 per game). Those are solid, not great, but solid numbers. The common line of thought would be Garcia will improve on those numbers with another year of experience and offseason under his belt.
We all know the Gamecock offense had plenty of problems. Take the 34 sacks for example. Only LSU allowed more (35). The Gamecocks were last in the league rushing yards per game (125 per), 9th in total offense (359 per), and 11th in scoring offense (21 points per). Is all of that really because Garcia played too many video games last year?
Honestly, I have no doubt Garcia could use more time in the film room and with his face buried in the playbook. The biggest knock on Garcia has always been his dedication level off the field. His well documented troubles early in his career are a quick reminder of some of the things that have distracted him from football. By all accounts he has improved in this area, but I am sure there is plenty of room for him to do more.
However, I think Spurrier is doing more harm than good by throwing his best offensive player, statistically speaking, under the bus and publically questioning his dedication and ability to lead the team next season. Really, if Garcia wasn’t dedicated to the team wouldn’t he have just quit after he was suspended the second time? Didn’t it show some fortitude just to work his way back to the team and into the starting role? And he didn’t play THAT bad last year.
Were all of those 34 sacks Garcia’s fault? I can’t count how many times Garcia took a snap only to find two to three defenders standing on top of him before he could take a step. We all saw that. Is it fair to blame him for a line that the stats clearly show couldn’t block their own shadow?
Spurrier mentions the PapaJohns.com Bowl often. Garcia didn’t play well that game. No one on the offense did. However it was Garcia that entered the media room with tears streaming down his face because of the sting of that embarrassment. Not something you would expect from a player that isn’t dedicated or doesn’t want to work hard.
I understand Spurrier wants to motivate his players, especially his quarterbacks. His modus operandi has always been to make sure his quarterbacks never get too comfortable and are always fighting to keep their job. I get it. Competition is a good thing, but is it really necessary to continuously pound a kid through the media?
Garcia is Spurrier’s guy. Everyone of these players are guys that he recruited and offered scholarships to. That means all of the offensive struggles are on Spurrier. This is his sixth season and the offense is still less than average. I am just not going to buy into the theory that Garcia’s lack of offseason commitment is the reason Carolina only scored 21 points per game last year. I’ve seen Blake Mitchell, Chris Smelley, Tommy Beecher, Syvelle Newton and others take snaps at Carolina and the results have been, for the most part, the same.
Am I the only one that finds it ironic that the guy that couldn’t even commit to calling all the plays last year is questioning the offensive player that made the MOST plays dedication? Honestly, who mailed it in more last year, Spurrier or Garcia? Which one looks like the need to rededicate himself more?
How can Spurrier expect his players to be motivated if he doesn’t even seem motivated?