A lot of folks seem more interested in (bothered by?) Steve Spurrier’s digs at Stephen Garcia last night than his comments dispelling the retirement rumors.
Spurrier drew laughs when he said coaching Garcia was “not a lot of fun” and joked that the redshirt freshman might push the 63-year-old Ball Coach into an early retirement.
Yes, it was funny, but there was some truth to the remarks, as well.
More telling was Spurrier’s response today on the SEC teleconference when asked whether the two spring practices Garcia missed while suspended slowed his development.
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“I certainly think everything he misses the last two years has been harmful to his development,” Spurrier said. “He’s got a lot of training to do and learning to do if he’s going to be an accomplished player.”
Note the verb tense: Spurrier made a point to say everything Garcia “misses” has hurt him.
Is Spurrier hard on his quarterbacks? Sure, he is; and he expects a lot out of them.
What he does not expect is to have his starting quarterback missing classes, workouts and other team activities, as Garcia occasionally does.
All of this ties in to the retirement talk, as well. In Spurrier’s perfect world, his exit strategy would be to ride off into the sunset after taking the Gamecocks to the SEC championship game for the first some in school history, preferably in the next three to four years.
To do so, he knows he needs a talented quarterback committed to taking care of business off the field, even going above and beyond what’s expected in terms of film study, workouts, etc (think Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel).
There’s no question Garcia has the physical tools to be successful. But Spurrier believes he needs to get more serious about learning the position.
Until then, he can expect to hear more comments like yesterday’s.