COLUMBIA, S.C. — Will Muschamp did not say Jake Bentley will play for South Carolina on Saturday vs. UMass, but he also did not say he won’t.
“We have looked at all options as far as what we need to do,” Muschamp said on his Sunday teleconference. “We have got a good plan going in. We will see on Saturday. We went back (in the bye week) and evaluated every position. More than anything, as coaches, looked at ourselves schematically on what we need to do to improve our football team. Our mentality is to win now and what we need to do that. We’ve got good plan going in.”
The true freshman Bentley has not yet played this season, but Muschamp is exploring all options to spark a struggling South Carolina offense.
“If there is an alternative and you feel the alternative is going to help your football team right now then you make that decision whether it’s a defensive end or receiver or quarterback, it doesn’t really matter,” Muschamp said. “There’s no question you are a better player at 22 than you are at 18. … But at the end of the day, you make a decision on what is best for the young man and the football team.”
Muschamp said a decision on pulling a redshirt, especially halfway through the season, is a matter of sitting down with the player and his family to reach an agreement on what is best for both the player and the team. That conversation wouldn’t be too difficult to arrange with Bentley, as his father, Bobby Bentley, is South Carolina’s running backs coach.
Senior Perry Orth started the first two games of the season, while freshman Brandon McIlwain got playing time in both games. McIlwain took over the next three weeks, but was benched after throwing for just 34 yards in three quarters against Texas A&M.
Orth came in for the fourth quarter and started against Georgia the following week. The senior played the entire game against the Bulldogs.
Muschamp said he won’t name a starter until Saturday, which has been his policy every week.