Surviving minus Stephen Garcia

The Gamecocks' QB situation could be in flux, but Steve Spurrier's troops could claim the SEC anyway. AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Steve Spurrier's reaction to the Stephen Garcia situation at some level seems a bit out of character. Rather than push and cajole Garcia (which has been his quarterback-coaching modus operandi for much of his career and is the technique he used with Garcia last year), Spurrier has taken more of a laissez-faire approach to his prodigal passer. Based on his comments at SEC media day on Monday, it could very well be that Garcia never misses a snap this season.

But this is Spurrier, and Garcia is a quarterback, so it's obviously quite hard to say.

This may just be another mind game being played by the Old Ball Coach to get the desired reaction out of the highly talented but terribly undisciplined Garcia, but having a high level of self-assuredness isn't a feeling that looks justified given Connor Shaw's struggles in spring practice. Putting Shaw behind center in a season where South Carolina is a favorite to make a repeat appearance in the SEC championship game might be seen by some as too high of a cost to prove a point.

Except that it might not just be a ploy to prove a point. After taking a closer look at the South Carolina Gamecocks' game tape and metrics, it is clear that Spurrier's reaction might be due to justifiable confidence that the rest of his team can carry the load with or without Garcia. That's right, the Gamecocks could go far with or without