South Carolina began spring practice Tuesday afternoon, but starting quarterback Stephen Garcia was not there.
Garcia has been suspended for the start of spring practice for a violation of team rules, a source with knowledge of the situation told The State. Garcia, a senior who is trying to hold off sophomore Connor Shaw this spring, could return to the team in time for Saturday’s scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Coach Steve Spurrier is expected to be available for comment following today’s practice.
Garcia is coming off the best season of his career. He completed 64.2 percent of his passes and threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had 11 interceptions in the first 13 games of the season but threw three in the Gamecocks’ 26-17 Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Florida State.
The missed time won’t help his case with Spurrier, who made it clear immediately after the Chick-fil-A Bowl that Shaw would be competing for the starting job this spring. Shaw played in nine games in 2010, completing 23-of-33 passes for 223 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 165 yards on 32 carries.
Garcia is third in school history in passing yards (6,753), completions (528), attempts (903) and passing touchdowns (43), but he has found his share of trouble since arriving on campus in 2007.
He enrolled early out of Jefferson High School in Lutz, Fla., but was suspended from all of his first spring practice and most of the next year’s spring practice because of off-the-field incidents.