- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has suspended senior quarterback Stephen Garcia for the first week of spring practice.
The Gamecocks opened spring practice Tuesday, and Garcia was not present. Spurrier confirmed Garcia's suspension after practice Tuesday. Reserve quarterback Andrew Clifford has also been suspended for the first part of spring practice. Spurrier said both players should be back next week.
"This was something that happened earlier that we're finally getting around to handling," Spurrier said. "[Garcia's] actually been pretty good this semester. This is something that happened in the past. We just got around to handling it. It's just a violation of team rules. He'll be back next week to answer all [the media's] questions."
This is the third different time in Garcia's career that he's been suspended for at least a part of spring practice. He missed all or most of spring practice in both 2007 and 2008 following multiple arrests for charges ranging from public drunkenness to vandalizing a professor's car.
Sources told ESPN.com that Garcia's latest suspension stems from a curfew violation at the team hotel in Atlanta the week of South Carolina's 26-17 loss to Florida State last season in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
The incident occurred a few nights before the game, and Spurrier considered at the time suspending Garcia for a portion of the bowl game. But backup quarterback Connor Shaw was ill and running a fever, and the Gamecocks weren't sure he would be able to play.
Garcia completed 19-of-34 passes for 234 yards against the Seminoles but was intercepted three times.
Spurrier had already stated that the competition this spring for the starting quarterback job would be open. He said the same thing last spring when Shaw was just a true freshman after questioning Garcia's focus and commitment level.
Shaw played some during the first month of last season and actually replaced Garcia for the final part of the fourth quarter in the Gamecocks' 35-27 loss at Auburn.
But from there, it was pretty much Garcia's show, as the Gamecocks made their first ever trip to the SEC championship game.
Garcia finished third in the SEC with 3,059 passing yards and tied for fourth with 20 touchdown passes, but he also led the league with 14 interceptions. Five of those came in his last two games -- both South Carolina losses.
Chris Low covers SEC football for ESPN.com.
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