Quarterback Stephen Garcia talks about expectations, his own motivation, playing for Steve Spurrier and more.
Can you sense higher expectations this season?
Yes, I think the whole team can. The baseball team put some pressure on us. And they also showed us that anything can happen. They weren't picked to win the national championship and they did. This whole city, you can feel the energy, driving down the street waving at you saying "Good luck this year." Everybody's pretty excited about this year.
Can this team win the SEC championship?
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Definitely. We have the talent. It's just going to come down to execution and having fun out there.
How is this year's team different?
Everybody's got a sense of urgency about them. They're a lot more accountable. Everybody's on time to everything. They're not making excuses. The whole team in general is a lot more mature I think.
How is the receiving corps looking this year?
It's very deep. We've got some guys that can do a lot of different things with the ball. Tori and Alshon, J.B. and D.L., the big targets. Throw it up to them and they can make plays. And then you've got smaller guys like Ace Sanders. Get them the ball in open space and let them run around.
Talk about playing for Steve Spurrier.
Everybody knows coach Spurrier is one of the greatest quarterback coaches of all time. That's the reason I came here, to play for him. He'll get on you but he means well. He's just trying to get you to play to your potential. It took me awhile to realize that. In the beginning I was like, "Man, why's he always picking on me?" But in the end I guess he knew my potential and is just trying to get the most out of me.
Five quarterbacks have departed in your time here. How have you and the current QBs handled that?
We all stick pretty close together. I was pretty good friends with Zac, Reid and Aramis, even Smelley and Beecher before them. They made the personal decision to stop playing or transfer. They did what's best for them. I still keep in contact with all of them.
Talk about current quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Andrew Clifford.
Connor's a very good player. So is Andrew Clifford. Coach Spurrier said that Andrew Clifford was the most improved for the summer, and I couldn't argue with that. Connor obviously has a good chance of being good. The future's bright for South Carolina.
What's the coolest thing you did this summer not related to football?
I went home a lot, pretty much every other weekend. The coolest thing was probably going to Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando with my girlfriend and my little boy. That was pretty fun. He liked the water.
If you weren't playing football, what would you play?
Either baseball or golf.
What do you do in your free time?
Usually take a little nap, try to get as much sleep as I can.
When did you realize you were good at playing football?
I'm still trying to figure that out. I think this year's going to be big for me and the team in general.
Are you motivated to do what it takes to improve this year?
Once coach Spurrier said what he said in the spring, it lit a fire underneath me and the light bulb finally went off in my head. I needed that. I've got to play flawless. That's what coach Spurrier wants and that's what I'm going to try to do this year.