Bowl report: Gamecocks to practice at Garcia’s old stomping grounds

jkendall@thestate.comDecember 19, 2012 

-University of South Carolina players, including #5 QB Stephen Garcia, practice Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 at Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa, FL in preparation to meet Iowa in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. Here, Garcia, left, who attended Thomas Jefferson High School, greets some of his coaches, including head coach Mike Fenton, right.

ERIK CAMPOS

South Carolina and Stephen Garcia may be reunited, albeit briefly, when the No. 11 Gamecocks head to Tampa, Fla., for the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl.

South Carolina will hold its bowl site practices at Jefferson High School in Tampa, where Garcia threw for 8,081 yards, a Hillsborough County record, before signing with the Gamecocks. He threw for 7,597 and 47 touchdowns at South Carolina, where he won a school-record 20 games before being dismissed from the team last October.

Coach Steve Spurrier doesn’t know if Garcia will stop by his old high school to see his former teammates next week. South Carolina will hold its first practice in Tampa on Dec. 27 and will practice there four times before playing Michigan in Raymond James Stadium.

“If he comes by that’s fine, but we are worried about playing Michigan,” Spurrier said following South Carolina’s Wednesday practice session.

Healthy quarterback

Junior quarterback Connor Shaw ran well at Wednesday’s practice and will start the bowl game, Spurrier said. Shaw missed the regular season finale against Clemson due to a foot injury.

“He was running around the best he has probably in a month or so,” Spurrier said. “Connor has been our starter all year and he’s set to go.” Backup Dylan Thompson will play, Spurrier said.

Extra points

... Defensive end Chaz Sutton and cornerback Vic Hampton submitted paperwork to determine their NFL status but both expect to return in 2013. “No matter what I hear, I am not planning on going anywhere,” Hampton said. They probably aren’t the only juniors ones to send in their paperwork. “We encourage all the juniors to do it,” Ward said.

... Spurrier expects all the Gamecocks to be academically eligible for the game.

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