Quarterback Stephen Garcia remains on track to be fully reinstated to the team, but the official decision won’t come until at least Monday, his coach said.
“Stephen Garcia has changed his lifestyle almost completely,” head coach Steve Spurrier said following his annual preseason media golf outing Thursday. “He has been on time, no goofing around. He is very serious and has shown a commitment we have never seen before. Hopefully, that will continue, and I expect it to continue. I expect him to be a different person.”
Spurrier, his assistant coaches and several members of the football team’s support staff joined almost two dozen members of the local media for 18 holes of golf at Cobblestone Park in Blythewood. Afterward, Spurrier reiterated that he plans to let Garcia and backup Connor Shaw compete for the starting job, but he gave the strong impression the job is Garcia’s to lose.
“We think Stephen is on track to really perform well and grow into a first-class person,” Spurrier said.
Garcia is on a probationary status following the fifth suspension of his college career.
If the NCAA makes scholarships multi-year deals for the players rather than the current one-year agreement, which SEC commissioner Mike Slive proposed last week, then assistant coaches should all get multi-year contracts, Spurrier said.
“I think eight of our nine guys have one-year deals, and they are not going around moping saying they need a two- or three-year deal,” he said. “They’ve got wives and kids. They’ve got confidence in their ability. They can coach; they can recruit, and they don’t need a two- or three-year deal.”
Strength coach Craig Fitzgerald continues to rave about the team’s summer workouts, Spurrier said.
He “has told me the guys have had super camaraderie,” Spurrier said. “They all like each other and their spirits have been good. I think attendance is close to 100 percent. Six or seven years ago, that would have been unbelievable so times have changed around here.”
Senior walk-on Jay Wooten will handle extra points and field goals and “maybe” kickoffs this season, Spurrier said. The Gamecocks hope to place Wooten, a Laurinburg, N.C., native, on scholarship, Spurrier said.
Freshman Patrick Fish is “probably”going to be the team’s punter, Spurrier said.
“But Jay Wooten could do that also,” Spurrier said.
PUSHING HIS PLAN
Spurrier took an opportunity to continue to tout his plan for head football coaches to give their top 70 players $300 in “expense money” for each game. The coach has gotten plenty of positive feedback on his plan, he said.
“If the coaches are going to pay it, who can be against it? Who’s it going to hurt?” he said. “I don’t know how anybody could be against giving a little bit of money to the group of guys that really run the athletic department with the money they bring in. Not only the athletic department but the university.”