COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier can't help himself these days: He likes his defending SEC East Division winners, no matter how many distractions he must handle at quarterback.
Spurrier said that quarterback coach G.A. Mangus will be back despite his arrest this week on a charge of urinating in public in Greenville. Spurrier also said suspended starting quarterback Stephen Garcia has made fundamental lifestyle changes and is poised for a big, big year.
"Times have changed around here," Spurrier said. "I think we all know times have changed."
The Gamecocks went 9-5 a season ago to win the SEC East and play in their first league title game. They were picked to return to the title game at last week's SEC media gathering.
The offense features All-SEC players in tailback Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffery. The defense adds the country's No. 1 college recruit in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. The biggest questions have concerned the quarterback spot.
Garcia, a former Jefferson High standout, was suspended in April by the school for unacceptable conduct at a life-skills gathering — his second suspension this spring and fifth since arriving on campus in January 2007.
Garcia "has changed his lifestyle almost completely," Spurrier said. "He's been on time. No goofing around. He's very serious. He's shown a commitment we haven't seen before. Hopefully that will continue, and I expect that to continue.
"I expect him to be a different person."
An official decision on Garcia's status won't come until at least Monday, Spurrier said. The team opens camp Wednesday.
Pryor mentor cleared: The mentor for former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor was investigated and cleared by the NCAA in 2008 of allegations that he improperly acted as a booster while helping the player pick a college, according to records released Friday.
In 2008 the NCAA ruled in favor of Ted Sarniak, a businessman and hometown friend in Jeannette, Pa., who went with Pryor on several recruiting visits. It has not been alleged that Sarniak was involved in any wrongdoing related to the scandal that forced out coach Jim Tressel this year, which preceded Pryor's decision to forgo his senior year.
In April 2010, Tressel received an e-mail from a tipster informing him that Pryor and other players had accepted improper benefits from a tattoo-parlor owner. Tressel didn't notify his superiors at Ohio State, as required by NCAA rules and his contract, but he instead forwarded the e-mail to Sarniak. Asked why he thought first of Sarniak, he told NCAA investigators, "I felt from a safety standpoint that I needed to alert Ted to the gravity of that" (since Pryor was one of the players involved).
Alabama: Starting receiver Darius Hanks will miss the first two games this season under the NCAA participation rule. He is coming off his best season with 32 catches for 456 yards and three touchdowns.
Clemson: The athletic department reported 12 NCAA secondary violations, including two athletes repaying their portion of a hotel room paid for by a former teammate's agent.
Nebraska: Quarterback Cody Green announced he's transferring to Tulsa. Green joins Tulsa the same week QB Shavodrick Beaver said he was transferring from the Hurricane.
Syracuse: Sophomore running back Prince-Tyson Gulley was stabbed several times during a brawl at an on-campus party around 1 a.m. Friday. Police said the injuries are not life-threatening. As a freshman, Gulley was fourth in the Big East in kickoff returns.