Talk turned to reality Saturday for South Carolina.
Freshman quarterback Jake Bentley is the new starter for the Gamecocks, the second first-year quarterback to play this season when he made his debut against Massachusetts on Saturday.
The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Bentley did not play for the first six games this season. Senior Perry Orth opened the season as the starter, splitting time with freshman Brandon McIlwain. McIlwain took over for the following three games, but was benched for the fourth quarter against Texas A&M in favor of Orth.
The senior started and played the whole game against Georgia, but the questions about who would be the quarterback moving forward began as USC headed into bye week.
Bentley spent his bye weekend in Alabama, where his high school coach, Brian Blackmon, said he was talking with a lot of confidence.
“He was just talking like a guy who was ready to play,” Blackmon said. “He was talking like a guy who felt confident that he would be able to do this.”
The buzz grew and grew around Bentley, who received more reps in practice as the Gamecocks started preparing for UMass.
Bentley, the son of running backs coach Bobby Bentley, enrolled over the summer at South Carolina after deciding to forgo his senior season at Opelika (Ala.).