COLUMBIA, S.C. – Give Steve Spurrier credit for keeping his sense humor when it comes to one of the most enigmatic players he’s ever coached.
Spurrier said he told fifth-year senior quarterback Stephen Garcia recently that he was finished getting mad at him.
“I stayed mad at him for the last two years, and it didn’t do any good,” Spurrier quipped. “I’ve accepted that he’s doing the best he can. He’s just limited when it comes to some of the things you ask your quarterback to be.”
Spurrier said he gave Garcia a list of 10 suggestions recently that he thought would help the Gamecocks’ quarterback both on and off the field.
“Just to help him sharpen up in everything he does,” Spurrier explained.
One of those suggestions was to cut his hair, and Garcia complied. South Carolina quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus had already made it known to Garcia that he need not show up for spring practice unless he did so with his locks trimmed.
Spurrier figures he’s made it this far with Garcia, and he’s prepared to ride it out for one more season -- whether Garcia is his starter or relegated to a backup role.
“A lot of my former players have said, ‘Coach, I can’t believe you’ve been so patient with him,’ ” Spurrier recounted, “and I said, ‘Well, we were winning and I made up my mind I was going to give him every opportunity and wasn’t going to jerk him in and out,’ so we gave him every opportunity and he did play well most of the time.
“Of course , we were only throwing 20 times a game. It wasn’t as if we depended on the quarterback to take us up and down the field. We don’t have a team built for that, but Stephen did do enough to get us to the SEC championship game.”
Now, if only Spurrier can get Garcia to wear a helmet when he rides his scooter.
“He’ll go flying around the corner when he’s riding that scooter with no helmet and his hat on backward,” Spurrier said. “Like I said, he's just different.”