South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp says it is time for his Gamecocks team to do something special, and that will begin with the play of quarterback Jake Bentley.
The focus of South Carolina fans over the weekend was in Glendale and Dallas, where both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were competing in their respective NCAA Tournament Final Fours. In Columbia, the gridiron Gamecocks were finishing up their spring practice with the annual Garnet & Black Game.
Head coach Will Muschamp, while congratulating the two hoops squads on their success, had a simple message for his team.
“I told our guys it’s time to do something.”
It seems that it has been longer than four years since the Gamecocks were coming off three consecutive 11-win seasons under Steve Spurrier; the program hitting an apex that it had never seen before.
Now in his second season as the program’s head coach, Muschamp is tasked with reviving the Gamecocks and making Williams-Brice Stadium a feared place to play. The advancement of quarterback Jake Bentley will have a lot do with that.
Bentley took over the starting job halfway through his freshman season and went 4-2 as the starter. With him being young alongside a lot of inexperienced skill players, the game plans may not have been as complex as they will get as he grows.
Muschamp was pleased with his quarterback during spring practice, naming Bentley the Offensive Player of the Spring. In the annual scrimmage game, the 6-foot-3 passer threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns while completing 19-of-31 pass attempts.
The two leading rushers – Rico Dowdle and A.J. Turner – will also return for their sophomore seasons, but it is Bentley that must take that next step for the Gamecocks to be a SEC East contender.
“Offensively, we’re a little further along, which is good. We should be with the returners that we have, the skill guys, Jake, the running backs that we have,” Muschamp said following Saturday’s spring game. “I think we have an opportunity to be a good offensive football team.”
If Bentley keeps improving and the Gamecocks start winning big, all eyes will be back on Columbia and Williams-Brice Stadium. That is exactly want Muschamp wants.