South Carolina-Ole Miss: Stephen Garcia in, Kenny McKinley Out

Tim PollockSenior Writer ISeptember 29, 2008

As South Carolina reenters SEC play, the Gamecocks essentially begin a new chapter in their season. 

The Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, has strongly implied that redshirt freshman quarterback Stephen Garcia will in fact get the start against Ole Miss. 

Based on Garcia’s performance against UAB, Spurrier said, “I think we’ve got to give Stephen Garcia every opportunity to play.  I think his ability to run out of the pocket adds an extra dimension to our offense.”

Never one to give out too much praise at once, Spurrier quickly added, “We’ll see if we can’t try to teach him a little bit where to throw the ball.”

Meanwhile, senior receiver Kenny McKinley will miss yet another game with a hamstring injury.  Once thought to be held out for preventative purposes, it now appears McKinley might actually miss the entire season.

In fact, Coach Spurrier is considering asking McKinley to take a medical redshirt, much the way Jasper Brinkley did last year after he went down early in the season. 

McKinley was very outspoken about the Gamecocks’ abilities in the preseason, so it has to be difficult for the kid to sit on the sidelines.  Not only that, McKinley had never missed a game prior to this season.

But depending on what information he gets from the NFL, McKinley might decide to try his hand at playing on Sundays.  For an undersized receiver without the benefit of a strong senior season, though, that might not be a good move. 

Regardless, both pieces of news make this Saturday’s game against Ole Miss that much more interesting.

It’s no secret that Ole Miss’ current defensive coordinator, Tyrone Nix, was gently nudged out of Columbia after last season’s defensive breakdowns led to a five-game losing skid.

Now Nix will ironically be game planning against the same quarterback, Garcia, who found holes in Nix’s defense as the leader of the Gamecocks’ scout team last year.   

Meanwhile, Garcia—oddly enough—probably has the most experience of any quarterback in the nation facing a Tyrone Nix-led defense. 

We’ll see if it pays off against a very confident Rebels bunch, who sacked and pressured Tim Tebow frequently in their upset of Florida this past Saturday.  

The chess match should prove to be an entertaining one, especially considering the way both Spurrier and Houston Nutt have been known to break out a few tricks on offense.