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Ex-USC QB Garcia Tweets About A&M’s Manziel… And A.D. Hyman

Former South Carolina bad boy quarterback Stephen Garcia is jumping into the Johnny Manziel free-for-all via his own Twitter feed today.  But the ex-CFL quarterback’s tweets weren’t necessarily aimed at Manziel.  No, instead they were targeting Manziel’s athletic director Eric Hyman, the same AD who played a large role in suspending and then booting Garcia from Carolina due to what were mainly alcohol-related incidents.

Garcia first tweeted:

 

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Then came this:

 

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Our take?  First, it would be better for Garcia to let it go and not open himself up to ugly comments from anonymous Twitterers.  Too late for that.

Second, Garcia — like Manziel — wasn’t exactly knocking over banks during his playing days.  You could argue that he, too, was simply behaving like a young, 20-something college kid.

Third, Hyman — and his wife — probably won’t be getting a Christmas card from Garcia this year.  Distance hasn’t made the heart grow fonder, it seems.

All that said, by tweeting this about his old athletic director, it appears as if Garcia refuses to take responsibility for his own actions.  Whether that’s really the case or not we’ll never know.  But his tweets create that perception.

For that reason, a Garcia/Manziel comparison might not be too far out of bounds.  Neither man seems to grasp how a simple tweet might be interpreted by someone on the other side of a computer screen.  And neither seems to want to take 100% responsibility for the turmoil and media scrutiny they faced during their college careers.

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Carolina Backup QB Arrested; “Here We Go Again”

South Carolina redshirt freshman quarterback Tanner McEvoy has been arrested, charged with speeding, and charged with driving after consuming while under the age of 21 (that’s a lesser charge than a DUI, by the way).  Per USC’s policy, McEvoy was automatically suspend as a result of his Sunday arrest in North Carolina.

This probably wouldn’t make major news outside of the SEC if McEvoy weren’t following in the footsteps of former Gamecock quarterback Stephen Garcia.  Because he is, McEvoy’s arrest has gotten a bit more pub than one might expect.  The “Garcia Curse” has already been mentioned by NBCSports’ college football site.

Personally, I think it seems a bit quick to jump to that conclusion.  One arrest and suspension does not equal five suspensions.  Same position, same team, but not the same person.

From a football perspective, McEvoy was expected to compete to be the #2 man behind Connor Shaw during fall camp.  Depending on the length of his suspension, the competition he’ll get from others, and Spurrier’s view of his decision-making, his chances of landing that gig might have just taken a hit.  Again, that depends in large part on how strongly Spurrier feels about the other signal-callers on his roster.

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Spurrier Says Carolina Will Do More Running, Pick Its Spots To Pass

In 2008, South Carolina passed the ball 452 times and ran it 403 times.  In 2009, USC’s offense passed the ball 402 times and ran it 409.  In 2010 — with Marcus Lattimore arriving on the scene — the Cocks tossed 389 passes and ran the ball a whopping 522 times.  Last season, the passes were down to 317 while the rushes jumped to 553.

Spot the trend?

As anyone who’s paid attention can tell you, Steve Spurrier has learned to win in an different way from his old Fun N’ Gun Florida days.  If you want to know the mark of any good coach — or businessman, for that matter — it’s the ability to reinvent oneself and change with the times.  Most coaches can’t do it.  The greats can.

Paul “Bear” Bryant threw out an offense that had won him three national titles, replaced it with a wishbone and went on to collect three more championships.  There’s a reason Spurrier’s visored mug would be carved alongside Bryant’s on an SEC Mt. Rushmore of coaches.  He’s proven that he can adjust and adapt.  He’s gone from a pass-first coach to a run-first/play-good-defense kind of leader.

And it sounds like you can expect even more running from the Gamecocks this year with Connor Shaw at quarterback:

 

“We’ll probably be more of a running team, play defense, pick your spots to throw the ball.  That’s not a bad formula.  A little different that I’ve coached int he past.  As all of us know, you can win a bunch of ballgames doing it that way.”

 

Spurrier’s proving that he can win a bunch of games in two different ways.  That’s impressive.  As was the way he switched up last year’s offense to utilize more zone-read plays when Shaw took over for Stephen Garcia.

When Spurrier was hired, a Carolina fan who happens to be a friend of mine said that at least USC football would be fun to watch.  But instead of being competitive in high-scoring games, the Cocks are winning grind-it-out affairs.  It might not be as exciting as watching 50 passes per game, but those winning is a lot more fun than just being competitive.

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Spurrier Rips Offense For Poor Practice

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Steve Spurrier just complained about his team’s offense, especially its passing game.  Spring or fall, the Ol’ Ball Coach never lets up on his throwers and catchers.  Connor Shaw, welcome to Stephen Garcia’s world. 

Following practice yesterday in Columbia, Spurrier spilled his disgruntled guts:


“We had a sorry practice for the offensive guys.  They looked pretty pitiful, pretty sad, couldn’t block anybody.  As (linebacker) Damario Jeffery said, the defense whooped up.  They whooped offensive butt out here in shorts today.  Hopefully, we can get a little bit better on offense, but it was sad watching our guys try to play today.  Maybe we’re practicing too many quarterbacks.  They all looked pretty average.  But anyway, it was sort of sad watching (the) offense attempt to play today…

I’m thinking about closing practices so you people don’t have to watch us try to throw and catch.  I think we hit one out of 20 (in the passing skeleton drill with no pass rush).  It was ugly.  It was ugly.  But anyway, I guess that’s why you practice.  We’ve got to start throwing and catching better and see if we can look like a better passing team.  I see why coaches lose practice now.  They don’t want people to see how bad they are, I guess.  But we were lousy throwing today and hopefully we’ll get a little bit better as we go.”


When quarterback Stephen Garcia was dismissed and tailback Marcus Lattimore was shelved by injury mid-2011, the Gamecocks had to refinagle their offense to better utilize Shaw’s spread-option talents.  Over the final eight games of the season including a Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska, Shaw was able to rush for 485 yards and 8 touchdowns. 

However, Spurrier pulled back the reins on Shaw the passer allowing him to attempt just 18, 25, 12, 18, 20 and 17 passes over the Cocks’ final six games… very Spurrier-like numbers.  Call it the un-Fun-n’-Gun, but it worked as USC went 5-1 over that stretch (losing only the game in which Shaw put up 25 passes).

Carolina and Shaw will need to be better in the pass game in 2012 if they’re to contend for the SEC title.

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SEC Headlines – 3/29/12 Part One

1.  Florida’s defensive players are more comfortable as they begin Year Two under coordinator Dan Quinn.

2.  Will Muschamp has allowed tight end AC Leonard to return to practice after a February arrest, but the coach says the player still has work to do before his fall status “is addressed.”

3.  Asked if he might have another emotional blowup on the field this fall, Georgia D-coordinator Todd Grantham said, “We’ll see.”

4.  This writer says “Georgia is back to having behavior problems.”

5.  Frank Martin’s recruiting ability gives South Carolina a chance to build in basketball.

6.  Stephen Garcia was back at USC for Pro Day voicing  regrets.

7.  New defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri is ramping up the tempo at Tennessee.

8.  Signal-caller Tyler Bray continues to show more maturity.

9.  Vanderbilt didn’t land ex-Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien, but Wyoming transfer QB Austyn Carta-Samuels is at practice.

10.  There’s more competition for spots at Vandy this spring.

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Ex-USC QB Garcia Talks About His Dismissal

Meatlockersports.com recently caught up with the most suspended-reinstated-suspended-reinstated-dismissed player in SEC football history: former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia.  You can find the full article right here, but here’s an excerpt in which he talks about how losing his grandfather and a bad game against Auburn led to his dismissal from the Gamecock football team:

 

“I hate to use that as an excuse, but it was pretty rough.  It was a tough few days, a tough week and then on top of it we lose.  It was just a culmination of things that ultimately led to a poor judgement choice…

When I got called for the test and had to go in there, I was honestly kind of surprised.  I was like ‘Are we still doing this?’  I just thought to myself, ‘Man, this is not going to be good.’  Later on in the week, I got the call to meet the AD (Eric Hyman) and he told me that I wasn’t part of the team, or whatever else he said, I honestly just kind of blacked out as he was talking.  I just couldn’t believe that my career at South Carolina was over.  After everything that I’ve been through and everything that I’ve done, that was it.  I twas so bad the way it ended.”

 

Timing also played a role in Garcia’s eventual downfall.  He was “kind of surprised” about the test because he hadn’t been given one in a while.

 

“The thing about that is, I had to take an alcohol test once every week and it was at random from April throughout the summer.  So I would do that once every week from April until the start of fall practice or the first day of camp.  We agreed that if I fulfilled my end of the contract that we would re-structure the agreement — that was what we called it.  But that never happened.  I didn’t get drug tested for probably a month and a half.  It was from fall camp until the Auburn game, which was the only time I had gotten tested.  It was pretty weird that of all weeks, it was that one.  But either way it still doesn’t make it right that I chose to make those decisions.”

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Ex-USC QB Garcia Says He’s Praying For Forgiveness

Former South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is opening up about his midseason dismissal from USC’s football team and he admits that he failed to live up to the zero-tolerance policy placed upon him by the school’s administration:


“It was 100% my fault, and I just put myself in a terrible situation that I wish I could have taken back. … I feel like I could get away with a lot more stuff that obviously I couldn’t get away with.”


Garcia continues to work out in hopes of getting a shot with an NFL team.  “I just pray for forgiveness. … I feel like I’m a pretty good leader on the field.  Off the field, I struggled with that in college.  This is a whole new season, a whole new me.”

Garcia also said he recently spoke to Steve Spurrier who told the quarterback to call him anytime he needed anything.

Here’s hoping Garcia won’t be needing much help in the future.  Best of luck to him as he tries to pen a better finish for his football-playing legacy.

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Carolina Sets A New Goal: 11 Wins; Staff Does Great Work

For a team that couldn’t repeat as SEC East champion, South Carolina has accomplished one major goal already — becoming just the second Gamecock team in history to log 10 wins in a season.  Now Steve Spurrier says his team will have to start aiming for something else when they begin bowl practice:


“I think we had a goal to win eight, win nine, win 10.  We didn’t set one to win 11, so we’re going to set a new one when we meet back up (today).”


This season will have to rank among Spurrier’s best efforts.  Despite struggles at quarterback — including the dismissal of starter Stephen Garcia — and the loss of Mr. Everything tailback Marcus Lattimore, the Ol’ Ball Coach led his team to a 10-2 record and for the second year in a row beat all four traditional Carolina roadblocks: Clemson, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

I have no problem admitting that I expected USC’s season to fall apart with the loss of Lattimore, a player who accounted for 36% of the Gamecock offense.  But that didn’t happen.  While the offense struggled, the defense became stronger.  And on Saturday night against Clemson, quarterback Connor Shaw had what might be his breakout game.

Kudos to Spurrier and his staff for some excellent work in 2011.

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SEC Headlines – 11/18/11 Part Two

1.  As you know by now, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel wound up taking a on-game suspension and a hit to his wallet after his DWI/DUI arrest on Wednesday.

2.  Furman should give Florida a good chance to work on its offense before next week’s game with Florida State.

3.  Will Muschamp’s inexperience as a head coach hasn’t had anything to do with the Gators’ 5-5 record… according to him.

4.  Regarding the possibility of overlooking Kentucky, Georgia folks are saying all the right things.

5.  If he sticks around for four years, Aaron Murray may someday hold every major passing record in Athens.

6.  True freshman UK quarterback Maxwell Smith will continue his SEC crash course against UGA tomorrow.

7.  John Calipari says his team can grind it out if team try to slow down the Wildcats.

8.  Facing The Citadel’s option attack tomorrow, Ellis Johnson says South Carolina will change its defensive scheme from what it did against Navy earlier in the season.

9.  Despite an offense that’s been pretty ugly — even before Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore fell by the wayside — the Gamecocks can still reach the 10-win mark for just the second time in program history.

10.  Tennessee tailback Tauren Poole says the 2011 season has been “painful.”

11.  Cuonzo Martin has some promising stats to pore over as he awaits next week’s matchup with Duke.

12.  Vandy’s James Franklin — and his players — are treating tomorrow’s game with rival Tennessee as just another game.

13.  The Volunteers and Commodores ain’t what they used to be.

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Miles Feels For Spurrier In Garcia Situation

Steve Spurrier had to give fifth-year quarterback Stephen Garcia his walking papers this week when the player failed a substance test at South Carolina.  Les Miles has walked in Spurrier’s shoes and he doesn’t envy him:


“It’s a difficult decision.  It’s not one that I look forward to in any way.  You’re hammering wishes and goals and dreams.  You’re hammering futures.  And it’s a miserable even whether it’s a quarterback or anybody in your program.”


Most famously, Miles had to dismiss hotshot quarterback prospect Ryan Perrilloux after a number of issues in 2008.

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