South Carolina began spring practice Tuesday afternoon, but starting quarterback Stephen Garcia did not join them.
Garcia has been suspended for the first week of spring practice by head coach Steve Spurrier for a violation of team rules, Spurrier said following the two-hour workout. Backup quarterback Andrew Clifford also was suspended for the first week of spring practice.
“Sometimes when players are removed from a team, hopefully they will appreciate the privilege they have of practicing with their teammates,” Spurrier said. “It’s no fun not being on a team from what I understand. Hopefully, all these guys will understand if they want to be on our team just follow the few simple rules we have and everybody will be happy.”
This is the third time Garcia has been suspended for at least part of spring practice due to off-field incidents. He was suspended for all of spring practice in 2007 and most of spring practice in 2008.
His most recent suspension was for a violation “that happened in the past,” Spurrier said.
“He’s actually been pretty good this semester,” Spurrier said. “He’ll be back next week to answer all y’all’s questions.”
Spurrier then walked away before answering any further questions.
A source told The State that Garcia’s suspension stems from an incident that happened before the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta in December when a team official found two girls in Garcia’s hotel room during a routine bed check before midnight the night before the game.
An Internet report last month stated members of the South Carolina State Patrol detail that travels with the football team for road games was called to break up a party in Garcia’s hotel room, but Sid Gaulden, spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, said those officers were not involved in an incident with any Gamecocks the week of the bowl.
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 bowl game loss to Florida State. He is third in school history in passing yards (6,753), completions (528), attempts (903) and passing touchdowns (43).
The missed time won’t help his case with Spurrier, who made it clear immediately after the bowl game 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.
Shaw took most of the snaps during South Carolina’s team work at the end of practice Tuesday.
Spurrier's after-practice comments