COLUMBIA, S.C. – Will Muschamp had many more opportunities Tuesday to put to rest the speculation that freshman Jake Bentley will play Saturday for South Carolina.
The South Carolina coach did nothing to quell the notion once again. Instead he added to the belief that Bentley will see his redshirt burned as he discussed the differences in the quarterback position now opposed to earlier in the season.
“We are making decisions on what we think is best for our football team,” Muschamp said. “Leaving camp, Perry (Orth) and Brandon (McIlwain) were ahead of Jake after training camp was over. As you continue to work through the season, we are not having the production we need to have offensively and it’s not all on the quarterback, but at each position you constantly evaluate if you make a change is it going to make our football team better.
“We have a good plan heading into Saturday. Obviously, we are not going to disclose that until Saturday.”
Muschamp is sticking by the policy he has had through the season’s first half, choosing not to name a starter heading into the game against Massachusetts on Saturday (12 p.m. ET, SEC Network). But this is the first time the race has featured three quarterbacks.
At least, that is how it seems.
Bentley, the freshman son of running backs coach Bobby Bentley, has now been getting equal reps with Orth and McIlwain in practice, according to running back A.J. Turner.
“I’m just really putting my faith in the coaches,” Turner said. “They are going to put us in the best position and put the best players out there. I have no idea what is going on with the quarterback situation.
“I’m just doing what I’m supposed to be doing in practice and whoever is in, is in. I just run with it.”
The Gamecocks offense ranks last in the nation in scoring with just 14.0 points per game. The passing attack has accounted for just two touchdowns through six games, also last in the FBS.
Those numbers have come with Orth and McIlwain having three starts each. Bentley has not played yet, but the question has been there throughout the season. Recently, it has turned from questions about whether or not Bentley is destined for a redshirt to questions seeing if he will play as the Gamecocks head into the second half of their season.
Turner said the change to equal reps between the three quarterbacks came this week as USC prepares for UMass.
“As we have continued to work and meet and practice and the reps continue to add up, we have tried to evaluate the situation on what is best for our football team,” Muschamp said. “We are not going to make a change for sake of making a change. That doesn’t make any sense. We are going to make a change if we feel like it’s going to help benefit our football team. Those are the decisions we have to make as a staff.”
Throughout the season, the staff has informed players of changes coming on the Sunday following a game. And Muschamp has made it clear the Gamecocks have a plan in place already for UMass on Saturday.
He’s just not saying if that includes Bentley.
“Who says we’re making a change?” Muschamp said. “We’ll see Saturday.”