USC quarterback Stephen Garcia
Columbia, SC (WLTX, AP) --- USC's Thursday afternoon practice was highlighted by a Bruce Ellington appearance and Stephen Garcia's first public comments since returning from last week's suspension.
Ellington, the USC point guard and leading scorer on the basketball team, plans on playing football with the Gamecocks. But Thursday, he was strictly an observer because due to NCAA rules, Ellington would not be eligible to practice with the team until the summer, according to Head Coach Steve Spurrier.
Spurrier stated on his radio call-in show that Ellington will play receiver and other players at that position will assist Ellington in learning the playbook so that he has an understanding of the system before he steps on the field for his first official practice.
The coach also said he would encourage Ellington to spend time working on his basketball skills, especially during the month or so prior to the bowl game.
Meanwhile, Stephen Garcia met the media for the first time since last week's suspension ended. Garcia says he understands fans' frustration with his behavior, but guarantees he will not make any more off-the-field mistakes.
The senior was suspended for the first three spring workouts for violating team rules during Chick-Fil-A Bowl week in Atlanta.
"Just got to be smarter, that's the bottom line," he said. "You know the last time I got in trouble was three or four years ago..it was a bad decision on my part down in Atlanta. Nothing bad is going to happen again. That's a guarantee," Garcia said following practice.
The school has refused to say what Garcia did, and the quarterback wouldn't talk about it either after Thursday's practice.
Garcia now has missed at least part of three of his five spring practices on campus. Three run-ins with the law during his first 15 months at South Carolina caused him to miss all offseason practices in 2007 and 2008.
Garcia says he was distraught when he got a voice mail the day spring practice started from coach Steve Spurrier telling him he was suspended.