Spurrier Halts Gamecocks Spring Game
"Don't sing many praises about us just yet, we have a chance if some guys come through." Steve Spurrier
By: BE Coleman
A late arriving crowd at Williams-Bryce Stadium for the Garnet and Black Game on Saturday caught the due notice of Steve Spurrier. The level of play by his number one quarterback also caught his notice on a warm day in Columbia.
"There were some good plays here and there, and some errant plays that have to be expected said the "Ole Ball Coach." "I think it was a decent game the way you do games nowadays."
"The quarterbacks had some moments but I don't know who looked the best," said Spurrier. The coach facetiously asked the sitting media if they could help identify which quarterback looked the best.
When asked if Spurrier had identified a back up, it brought back moments of Jim Mora and his playoffs answer in near capacity. "A backup! A backup! Were looking for a guy that can carry us all the way through."
If there is one thing Spurrier enjoys better than coaching or putting on the green, it is entertaining the news media. When the coach is on a roll, his roots that run back to the mountains of East Tennessee -- glare vividly.
Twice in less than a week, Spurrier had repeated himself upon the status of Stephen Garcia. "I'm hoping Stephen Garcia will have a big summer of getting committed to really learning how to play."
Garcia did not perform well during the spring finale for South Carolina. "He had some balls come off the bottom of his hand," noted Spurrier. "And he threw some that in baseball, you'd call too hot too handle."
Spurrier noted the coaching staff had to get Garcia ready to play, adding he was not looking for backups but getting the team's best players ready to play.
Freshmen Connor Shaw and Andrew Clifford are working to unseat Garcia.
Clifford went 8 of 11 passing for 100 yards and Shaw who started for the Garnet led an opening half score on a 14 yard strike to tight end Patrick Demarco – named the offensive player of spring.
It took Shaw three passes to move the offense into scoring range for the 59 yard scoring drive that brought attention to Spurrier's quest to go multiple, if a quarterback is not distinguishing himself on the field.
"Stephen should be our best player, but sometimes he just doesn't completely act like it or perform like it," noted Spurrier. "Hopefully he will have a real committed summer of getting ready to play."
"If a player has a poor summer, he may not be a starter even if he was last year," added a pensive faced Spurrier. "We will put the best team together at the end of preseason practice and they will be the starters."
Spurrier would not go into any specifics on Garcia, iterating once again that he needed "to perform, just play better and make a commitment to learn how to play the game."
The coach did acknowledge that he fully expects both Shaw and Armstrong will do everything that they can in the summer off season to be ready for August. Spurrier had also noted this twice in less than one week.
The coach told the media to ask Garcia if his commitment had improved, refusing to answer the question for a second time.
"This one (game) was better organized," noted Spurrier. "It was set up to help the offense," today. Ellis Johnson's defense was kept to a near vanilla pace with only three packages used.
"It's a lot to learn but we are pleased with Clifford and Connor." Clifford has "probably learned more than a lot of other guys who were here for one season. They have both done pretty well at this stage."
Spurrier noted that Shaw, "hit the off the bench play and that's the best we have hit it in six years now."
Spurrier let the team play for three quarters before he had seen enough. With several players out with injuries found him air on a side of caution. He said he liked it better than the spring game two years ago when the quarterbacks tossed up eight interceptions.
"Don't sing many praises about us just yet, we have a chance if some guys come through," ended Spurrier of the best team he has had while at South Carolina. "We do have a chance, but not until we earn it."
"Don't talk too kindly of the Gamecocks until we do something – okay…a lot of our players don't handle praise very well. They are just not mature enough," added Spurrier. "Wait and see on the Gamecocks, okay."
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