It seems everyone has an opinion about how South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier coaches his quarterbacks. Even Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy.
“It’s a unique way of handling quarterbacks,” McElroy said this week. “It’s a way that I know a lot of guys don’t like to do it, but (Spurrier) obviously gets the most out of his guys. Whatever he does is obviously outstanding for South Carolina.”
Spurrier will start Stephen Garcia on Saturday, but he left open the possibility that freshman Connor Shaw will play.
“We may have a play or two here and there that (Shaw) gets in early. We may, we may not,” Spurrier said. “We think he’s going to be a real good player, and we don’t know if he’s quite ready yet or not, but we’ll have to just see how it goes. We’re all hoping that Stephen will play up to his potential and take care of the ball.”
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Garcia fumbled twice in the fourth quarter against Auburn before being replaced by Shaw. Garcia is fourth in the SEC and 16th in the nation in passer rating. He has completed 56 of 81 passes for 743 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.
“He’s played pretty decently,” Spurrier said. “But, obviously, he can’t just run in there blindly and get hit hard and fumble, so we’re going to try and get that corrected and go from there.”
McElroy has been impressed with what he’s seen of Garcia this year.
“I have a lot of respect for Stephen,” he said. “He’s been battle-tested and probably has the most experience of anybody in the league. He’ll be ready to play. Whoever they go with and whoever the quarterback is, I know our defense is going to have a tough time stopping them.”
After freshman Ace Sanders had 100 all-purpose yards in his first game as a Gamecock, it looked like he would be a major factor in the offense. However, he has had one carry for 5 yards and three catches for 18 yards since then.
Passing game coordinator Steve Spurrier Jr. offered no clues this week as to when or if Sanders will become a bigger part of the offense again.
“He is still learning like every freshman, but he is a good player, he’s going to get his opportunity,” Spurrier Jr. said. “As time goes on, he is going to be a better player every week for us.”