This just in: Ron Morris has written a controversial article about Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks. For those of you in shock, believe it: follow this link, and you'll actually see Morris criticizing Spurrier's coaching. The jist of the article? Spurrier is being too hard on Stephen Garcia. He's hurting poor Stephen's confidence by constantly criticizing him.
In all seriousness, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Morris buys his lunch with articles designed to pique the USC and Clemson fanbases, and his choice to write a provocative article about a topic that is divisive among USC people should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, since this does seem to be an issue that has divided USC fans more or less since late in 2008, I feel like I should say where I stand. And where I stand on this one is with Spurrier.
As Spurrier has stated time and time again, confidence has never been the issue for Garcia. Motivation is. And anyone who payed attention and noticed that Garcia showed up to spring training looking like he had been living on Maurice's BBQ and Budweiser since the Papa John's Bowl should realize that Garcia hasn't been motivated enough over the past few months. The fact that Garcia still has some of the same issues--unorthodox throwing motion, underthrowing deep balls, happy feet in the pocket--shows the same thing. These are the issues that are holding Garcia back, not his confidence. And what they suggest are that he needs to work harder, which is exactly what Spurrier is trying to make him do. Even Morris admits that Spurrier is doing well in that regard, writing
IF THE POINT of Steve Spurrier browbeating Stephen Garcia throughout the spring was to ensure an offseason of diligent workouts by the junior quarterback, well, let's call it Mission Accomplished. Garcia is likely to be the hardest worker on the USC team this summer.
Morris, though, suggests that maybe more practice isn't what Garcia needs, but rather more confidence.
What Morris wrongly wants to dismiss, though, is that Spurrier is precisely right about what will produce more confidence in Garcia. As Spurrier, cited by Morris, says,
Confidence comes from executing your assignment, comes from knowing your assignments. Confidence comes from doing it over and over again in practice. Confidence comes from being fundamentally sound and having success. Success breeds confidence.
He's right. You know who the most confident quarterbacks in college football are? They're guys like Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Sam Bradford, all of whom work their butts off to become better players and who build their confidence by executing in big games. No, their coaches don't berate them like Spurrier does to Garcia, but their coaches don't need to. Why would Spurrier treat Garcia like he's Tebow? Garcia doesn't play like Tebow. It's worth noting here that Spurrier has never been reticent to praise Garcia after a strong performance. He even praised him after losing to UGA last year, and you know Spurrier wasn't in a good mood after losing to his lifelong archrival.
A lot of Gamecocks fans love Garcia, and I'll admit that I do sometimes, too. Garcia proved himself to be a competitor last year, improving his overall play and oftentimes laying his body on the line to make big plays. However, his performance this spring has been lacking, and Spurrier is right to push him hard so he works over the summer to take his game to the next level. And I believe that's exactly what he'll do. He might not, though, without a little nudge from Spurrier. What has he done over the course of his career here to make you believe he would?