Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Garcia dismissal opens door for Shaw
The University of South Carolina announced today that senior quarterback Stephen Garcia was dismissed from the football team.
Garcia had been suspended five times during his time with the Gamecocks. He was in trouble from the start, getting arrested twice within his first two months on campus.
His fifth suspension came in April, but he was fully reinstated to the team in August. As part of the reinstatement, he agreed on several guidelines to remain with the football team. Today’s dismissal was the result of Garcia failing to meet those guidelines.
When he was on the field, Garcia was one of the most successful quarterbacks in South Carolina history. He was the third Gamecock to throw for more than 7,500 yards in his career, finishing behind Todd Ellis and Steve Taneyhill. He also ranked third all-time in pass attempts, pass completions and passing touchdowns. As a starter, Garcia was 20-14.
Playing for Steve Spurrier, Garcia accumulated two of the top three seasons in total offense (passing yards plus rushing yards) in South Carolina history. He broke the 3,000-yard barrier twice, setting the school record with 3,281 yards of total offense last season.
Despite leading the Gamecocks to four wins in their first five games, Garcia struggled in 2011. After completing 64 percent of his passes in 2010, he was connecting on just over half of his attempts this year. He was passing for 50 less yards per game, and had thrown more than twice as many interceptions (9) as touchdown passes (4).
Garcia did not play in South Carolina’s Week 6 game against Kentucky, but entering that week his nine interceptions were the most in the nation. Among quarterbacks with at least 30 pass attempts, he threw picks at the third highest rate in FBS.
Part of the problem for Garcia in 2011 was his trouble connecting with Alshon Jeffery. The two combined for 1,413 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010. With opposing secondaries focusing on Jeffery this season, Garcia completed less than half of his pass attempts to his primary receiver. Opponents were able to intercept five passes intended for Jeffery while limiting him to two touchdowns from Garcia.
Garcia is replaced at quarterback by sophomore Connor Shaw. Shaw has started two games in his South Carolina career. He started the season opener against East Carolina, but completed just three of nine passes before he was replaced by Garcia. He had much more success against Kentucky, completing two thirds of his passes and tossing as many touchdowns as Garcia had thrown in five games.