Last Saturday was a good day for University of South Carolina football, a very good day. The Gamecocks rebounded from their ugly loss to Auburn and absolutely dismantled SEC division rival Kentucky 54-3, improving their record to 5-1.
The team walked away from that game with three things: their most dominating performance ever, the top spot in the SEC East and a bona fide starting quarterback in Connor Shaw.
Well, apparently that’s all yesterday’s news, because two major stories out of the University of South Carolina have got Gamecock Nation abuzz: head coach Steve Spurrier’s bizarre press conference and the dismissal of quarterback Stephen Garcia.
You’d be hard-pressed to find another team that could flip the script that dramatically in three days…
Or another coach…
Instead of using his weekly Tuesday press conference to discuss the Gamecocks’ victory or their upcoming matchup with Mississippi State, Steve Spurrier used it to settle a score with a member of the local media.
The Old Ball Coach is still fuming over News19’s Ron Morris’ spring report that alleged Spurrier had disrespected university basketball coach Darrin Horn and convinced Bruce Ellington to ditch basketball in favor of football.
Spurrier contends the story was fabricated and said Morris is just out to hurt the football program. After his rant, Spurrier explained that he wouldn’t speak with Morris present and would instead conduct individual interviews with every other reporter in the room.
Spurrier has never been one to hold back, but considering the impending announcement of Stephen Garcia’s dismissal, couldn’t this hissy fit have waited a week?
Surely a coach with his experience must recognize the questionable timing of dumping Garcia three days after a capable replacement is found. Perhaps instead of admonishing the local media about a six-month-old report, his press conference would have been better used to explain the situation and dispel any misconceptions people may have.
After five suspensions, there’s no question that Garcia’s dismissal is long overdue, but his indiscretions have been swept under the rug until today. What, did Garcia’s failed substance test for alcohol finally violate the Gamecock’s strict “10 strikes and you’re out” policy?
After the official announcement, Spurrier had this to say:
“We are all saddened that this has occurred. We all feel like we’ve given Stephen numerous opportunities to be a student-athlete here at South Carolina. Obviously, he has chosen not to follow the guidelines of his reinstatement contract. We wish him the best.”
At this point, Stephen Garcia could probably do without the lecture, but how about a serious explanation for the rest of us instead?
Something tells me that Steve Spurrier would advise against holding your breath on that one.