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Jake Bentley Watch: Day 4
If you’re like me, then news of Jake Bentley enrolling early at USC was met with timid skepticism.
Sure, South Carolina would now have two 4-star freshman quarterbacks in the program, but with the Texas A&M mass-quarterback exit hogging the headlines in the offseason, you couldn’t help but foresee something similar for the Gamecocks with Bentley and Brandon McIlwain both in the fold.
Summer camp came and went and, as expected, Bentley found himself third on the depth chart. Perry Orth, being the fifth-year senior that he is, got the starting nod against Vanderbilt and looked sharp in a season-opening road win.
Weeks later, the Gamecocks have already benched Orth in favor of McIlwain, gone back to the redshirt senior and now early bye week buzz seems to be pointing to Bentley being thrust into the spotlight.
“We haven’t gotten enough production from the position,” Muschamp said on the SEC teleconference. “Multiple issues offensively, but we need to get better at the position. So, we repped all three guys.”
Some scoff at the idea of burning Bentley’s redshirt. Wouldn’t it be ideal to put at least one year between the two freshman quarterbacks?
I think at this point in the season, the implications of starting Bentley extend far beyond wins and losses in the second half of the year.
It’s a gamble head coach Will Muschamp would likely prefer not to take this season — but if there were ever optimal circumstances for starting a true freshman quarterback, it would be those in which the Gamecocks currently find themselves.
For an offense that’s dead last in the country in points per game, a spark or even the smallest ember is needed in the worst kind of way. Not just for the 2016 season but for the overall future of the program.
Offensive skill players want to play in an exciting offense (look at Clemson, TCU, etc.), and time and time again the media will say “South Carolina has got to recruit itself out of this slump.” The current list of commitments could get it done, but the Gamecocks have to make it to Feb. 13 for those class rankings to matter.
Those against the move will question what No. 4 can really do behind this offensive line. “Not all is lost; why not play the guy who gives you the best chance to win in Orth or urge McIlwain to run more?” they’ll say.
The thing is, Bentley might just be the player who gives the Gamecocks the best chance to finish strong.
It’s a lot easier to look at star ratings, project stats and just say “play the kid now, it’ll pay off in 2018” than it is to be in the thick of the season and 2-6 at the halfway point. But count me among those ready to ride it out and try to keep perspective on the benefits of getting Bentley in-game experience.
Freshmen will make freshmen mistakes, but if it’s Bentley’s time, you hope his big-time talent makes up for any early gaffes.
Spurrier hangs it up: one year later
He may not have been the best head ball coach in 2015, but he was still our head ball coach … at least until a year ago today.
The Post and Courier’s David Caraviello took a look at what’s changed in the football program since Spurrier’s departure last October — and honestly, it’s not as damning as some South Carolina fans might think.
All players cite the stark contrast in Spurrier and Muschamp’s respective coaching styles, but you don’t get the feeling that the players preferred one coach over another.
While buzzwords like “effort, toughness and discipline” are thrown around a lot when discussing the current regime, it’s hard to imagine the HBC’s group preached laziness or anything like that. There were more good times than bad from 2005 to 2015.
I think sophomore wide receiver Terry Googer probably sums it up best:
“Best wishes to him,” sophomore receiver Googer said of Spurrier. “No hard feelings. He was one of my favorite coaches when he was here. We’re moving forward right now.”
Fun (well, not exactly fun) Fact: South Carolina’s 2015 and 2016 records are exactly the same halfway through the season, 2-4.
In case you missed it
- Class of 2016 commit and 4-star wide receiver OrTre Smith is a finalist for South Carolina’s Mr. Football award.
- SEC Network goes behind the scenes at Williams Brice on Sunday.
- Gamecocks Online profiles the Gamecocks’ career interceptions leader, Bo Davies, as he’s set to enter the South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame.
- South Carolina unveils a new court at Colonial Life Arena.
- The men’s basketball team is less than a month away from its season opener
- Baseball America ranks the baseball team’s 2016 recruiting class No. 11 in the country.
The non-rev report
- The women’s golf team is ranked No. 24 in Golfstat’s first poll of the season.
- Courageous former South Carolina swimmer battling brain cancer honored with locker dedication.
- Women’s soccer team feeling good about its No. 2 ranking, but focused on showdown with No. 16 Florida on Sunday.
- Another top-10 team! The South Carolina equestrian team is ranked No. 8 in the country.
Really love seeing the Block C at center court.
— Gamecock Athletics (@GamecocksOnline) October 12, 2016
Even 2-4 looks cool in slow motion.
Will Muschamp doing what he does best.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) October 12, 2016
Well this could throw a wrench in my Jake Bentley watch.
— Rob Proffitt (@BreakinDownFilm) October 12, 2016
Whatever caused Spurrier’s first South Carolina visor throw was likely not a feel-good moment, but all this HBC retrospective talk brought me back to this first game. #AllTheFeels for my first game freshman year. That makes Spurrier and I like classmates or pledge brothers or something, right?