Thursday, 31 May 2012

Stephen Garcia Starts His Road Back By Trying Out With The Montreal Alouettes

On a hot, windy Wednesday afternoon former South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Stephen Garcia started his road back to football relevance by trying out for the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes.
Gone are the days of Garcia coming through the tunnel at Williams-Brice stadium in-front of 80,000 screaming fans getting ready to play the likes of Alabama, Florida, or Georgia. This isn’t SEC Saturdays, but there he was in a Montreal suburb fighting for a chance to be given that “golden paper invite” for the actual training camp starting this Sunday.
He wasn’t throwing to the likes of Alshon Jeffery, or Marcus Lattimore to prove his worth. This time he was trying to connect with players from Canadian Universities, and small U.S. schools that are 20-percent of what South Carolina’s financial budget is for their football program.   
From my initial sight, Garcia has slimmed down from his days in Columbia, South Carolina. His face wasn’t as pudgy, and looking to be in good shape.
The Alouettes are primarily a shotgun team, so he had no snaps under centre.  Even though there was zero pass rush in Garcia’s face, he threw very well in the intermediate passing drills.  He had a lot of zip on his throws, his spirals were tight, and showed decent touch on his passes.
However, throwing against a strong wind, he did run into problems on his deep passes, where he overthrew a few of his receivers. In some tight coverage drills he did not connect as often.
As for his footwork it was tough to decipher considering these weren’t hard drop back steps, and at times he was throwing from a stationary shotgun position.
Without question, Garcia development was far more advanced than his quarterback counterpart Lee Chapple of North Alabama. Some might snicker at this statement, but the coaching that Garcia received from his old head coach Steve Spurrier might have paid off.
Garcia did spend a good chunk of time conversing with the team’s new offensive coordinator Marcus Brady. This could be a sign that there is intrigue from the coaching staff’s part to know who he is as a person, and player.
After practice was over, Garcia told me how thankful he was of an opportunity to showcase his ability to the Alouettes coaching, and management staff. He realizes he no longer has the cameras of CBS, ESPN, or Fox Sports coming in to ask him how he will be able to counter the ferocious defenses of Auburn, Arkansas, or LSU.
In-fact, he seemed quite surprised as he eyes widen how I told him that I’ve been following his career since his high school days in Tampa, Florida.
Garcia knows this could be his last real shot at an opportunity to play professional football. If Garcia get’s that “golden paper ticket” to come to Sunday’s start of practices. He must realize he’s no longer in South Carolina and doesn’t have the protection of Spurrier if he get’s in trouble. One false mistake off the field might vanquish his professional football career.
Good luck to Stephen Garcia.

Side note: In an arranged agreement with the Alouettes PR department, Garcia was schedule to be on with TSN 990's Thursday morning show. But when he was contacted in his hotel room his roommate said he is sleeping.

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Listen to me every Sunday/Tuesday nights on Gamepoints, every Friday morning on The Midnight Snack, and various shows on TSN 990.

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