There’s no quarterback controversy. No one’s suggesting that.
But the separation between Stephen Garcia and Reid McCollum tightened a bit Sunday during South Carolina’s second preseason scrimmage.
With the exception of one pass to tight end Weslye Saunders threaded into coverage, Garcia didn’t do much. He had to fall on a fumble when the ball slipped from his hand on the second pass play called.
He overthrew three open receivers, the last of which was a floater that Chris Culliver picked off and returned 48 yards for a touchdown.
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McCollum had his mistakes, too – a botched snap that resulted in a lost fumble and an INT he threw directly to cornerback Cedric Snead.
And while both QBs warmed up later in the scrimmage, McCollum had the better day. His best throw came on a go route to Alshon Jeffery for a 46-yard score.
Garcia is still the starter, and should be. But McCollum’s performance cemented his place at No. 2 – about a week and a half after Steve Spurrier briefly dropped him to third-team behind Aramis Hillary.
If McCollum maintains his solid play, he gives Spurrier a viable backup should Garcia get injured or struggle. And Spurrier has shown time and again he likes to have QB options.
Spurrier’s take on his top two QBs after the scrimmage:
“Reid is a pure drop-back passer. We’ve said that from day one, and if he ever gets his mind really straight, he can be real good. And he can run. He can run that spread offense. He can take it in there and run up in there for 8, 10 yards, protect himself. It’s a matter of he and Stephen really making that total commitment to learn everything about football. These guys have ability. And our offensive linemen have ability. We should be a danged good offense.”
Here are the stats …
Passing – Garcia 8-16-1 110 yards 1 TD; McCollum 7-11-1 166 yards 2 TD; Hillary 3-4-0 49 yards 1 TD; Brindise 5-10-0 96 yards 1 TD.Rushing – Maddox 8-50, Garcia 4-(-15), DiMarco 1-10, Wilson 1-1, McCollum 6-22, Miles 16-98 2 TD, Giles 8-39 1 TD, Hillary 2-0, Sherman 9-51 1TD, Brindise 2-13, Smith 1-25, Team 1-(-18).Receiving – DiMarco 2-8, Saunders 3-93, Gurley 1-57 1TD, Wilson 2-7, Sherman 2-16, Bennett 2-73 1TD, Hills 1-11, Barnes 1-5, Jeffery 2-68 1TD, Scruggs 3-26, Triglia 1-1 1TD, Flint 2-21, Matthews 1-15 1TD.
Scoring playsGurley 57 pass from McCollumGiles 2 runBennett 47 pass from BrindiseCulliver 48 interception returnMiles 5 runJeffery 46 pass from McCollumSherman 3 runTriglia 1 pass from GarciaMiles 5 runMatthews 15 pass from Hillary