Hale McGranahan/SEC Country
South Carolina QB Jake Bentley (left) ran for a season-high 24 yards against Tennessee on Saturday.

Keys to a successful bye week for South Carolina; plus, DE/LB earns another SEC honor

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South Carolina’s bye week to-do list

The South Carolina football team has plenty to be happy about with a 5-2 record, but that doesn’t mean the team is ready to rest on its laurels during the bye week.

“I’m going to take the younger guys on our football team and really develop those guys. We’re going to meet and recap Tennessee,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said during his Sunday night teleconference. “There’s a lot of things we need to go look at, obviously, [that] our opponents are going to be looking at. We did that as a staff [Sunday].”

Muschamp emphasized that the bye week was “about working on South Carolina. … It’s not about any opponents right now.”

The Gamecocks will certainly be using the downtime to heal. They have a number of players, particularly on the offensive line, dealing with nagging injuries.

Outstanding issues

While Muschamp has his priorities for the open week, SEC Country’s David Caraviello has his own list of 5 things South Carolina needs to work on.

One of the biggest to-do’s: Get quarterback Jake Bentley on the move.

“Bentley has almost a reckless style to some of his scrambles, and while that surely endears him to teammates, it makes fans hold their breath,” Caraviello wrote. “At the same time, his effectiveness as a running threat is undeniable, and South Carolina’s coaches should employ selective, controlled ways — whether designed runs, RPOs or rollouts — to spread out opposing defenses by putting him on the move.”

Bentley’s surprising elusiveness could help mask depth issues on the injured offensive line.

The quarterback had 6 rushes for a season-high 24 yards in South Carolina’s 15-9 win over Tennessee on Saturday.

Grading Jake Bentley vs. Tennessee

SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan charted each of Bentley’s throws against Tennessee to get a closer look at his performance Saturday.

Despite having his first touchdown-less game of the season, Bentley was accurate and efficient with his short (0-10 yards) and behind-the-line passes.

“The Gamecocks offense dink-and-dunked its way through the rest of the afternoon, relying mostly on short throws, but Bentley did make a couple of nice throws to freshman wide receiver OrTre Smith in the intermediate window,” McGranahan wrote.

The sophomore signal caller has completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 1,585 yards, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in seven games this season.

South Carolina-Vanderbilt kickoff set

South Carolina’s next game, at home against Vanderbilt, will kick off at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 28, the SEC announced on Monday.

The Gamecocks will be looking for their ninth consecutive win against the Commodores.

South Carolina won the last meeting, 13-10, in Nashville in Muschamp’s debut as coach.

Another honor for South Carolina ‘Buck’

South Carolina “Buck” D.J. Wonnum was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week on Monday for the second week in a row. Wonnum shared the honor this week with Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes.

The sophomore defensive end/linebacker had 6 tackles and 2 sacks in South Carolina’s win against the Vols.

Wonnum has 34 total tackles and a team-leading 8.5 tackles for loss this season.

Top LB target names leader

Four-star LB and major South Carolina target Dax Hollifield named a new leader on Monday.

“Since [Saturday] night I have been thinking so much,” Hollifield told Don Callahan of 247Sports. “I’d say today UNC is my leader, just because of the official visit. I love coach [Gunter] Brewer — he’s one of the best people I know. It was just one of those visits that after you get off of it, you feel so great. I finally got to see all that I wanted. So, I’d say UNC is probably my leader today.”

The Shelby, N.C., native is rated as the No. 126 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite.

Hollifield took an official visit to South Carolina on Oct. 7.

Mocking the class

McGranahan took a shot at predicting the Gamecocks’ offensive signees for the Class of 2018.

Looking beyond South Carolina’s current pledges, the highest-rated potential signee is 4-star offensive tackle Dylan Wonnum, the younger brother of D.J.

“Wonnum has been to South Carolina for two games this season, and it appears the Gamecocks have regained their grasp as the team to beat,” McGranahan wrote. “Auburn once held that distinction, but the lead has since dissipated.”

Wonnum is rated as the No. 95 overall prospect for 2018 by 247Sports.

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