South Carolina fans are lucky to have a group of savvy reporters covering their football team. But they’re missing out on the best Gamecocks analysis out there.
Remember Shuler Bentley?
The older brother of South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley, son of running backs coach Bobby Bentley and younger brother of strength staffer Chas Dodd knows his stuff.
In terms of insider connections, it doesn’t get much better than that, unless your name is Jackson Muschamp. But Shuler has some perspective that, for now, the coach’s son lacks: experience as a D-1 quarterback.
After spending his first three seasons at Old Dominion, Shuler is posted up in Kentucky, competing for the starting quarterback spot at Murray State.
You best believe he has a close eye on what’s happening in and around Williams-Brice Stadium, even though it’s an 8.5-hour car ride away.
Earlier this spring, SEC Country went straight to the source for some insight on the state of the Gamecocks.
“They’ll get there. It’s going to be a process. I hate to say that, like the [NBA’s Philadelphia] Sixers, but you’ve got to trust the process,” Shuler said. “It’s a rebuilding stage, and they all know that. To have the success they had last year with all the young guys is ridiculous. … Hopefully, it will be a big building step moving forward.”
Much of that success was enjoyed by his younger brother. Over seven games as the Gamecocks starter in 2016, Jake passed for 1,420 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Shuler watched every throw at some point last season. The only game he saw in person was the Birmingham Bowl.
Even though Jake had a pair of interceptions in the 46-39 overtime loss to South Florida, there was a long stretch when Jake was at his best, according to Shuler.
“You let him get into a rhythm, and that’s with any quarterback or like a shooter. I think playing quarterback and playing point guard is the same thing. … When you let a kid, whether it’s a quarterback or a point guard, get into a rhythm, then he gets hard to stop,” Shuler said. “I feel like [with] Jake, the more the game goes on, the better he gets, and you can look at the South Florida game, for example.
“I was on the sidelines in the first quarter and he kind of started jogging, and then it was, like, the fourth quarter — boom, boom, boom all over the field, and the next thing you know it’s tied up and in overtime.”
Jake completed 32 of 43 passes for 390 yards with 3 touchdowns.
“If you let him get in rhythm and that’s been like him since he was little, he’s always gotten better as the game’s [gone] on,” Shuler said. “When he’s gotten into a rhythm, it’s always helped because he sees things really well.”
And, according to Shuler, it helps that his brother is “a better athlete than people think he is.”
“He can dunk,” Shuler said. “He can run, jump, spin, all that. He’s a better athlete than people think he is. I think there will be a game, before he’s done, where he’ll win a game with his legs.”
You heard it here first.