Jake Bentley, coming off 9-4 season, is optimistic about USC’s football fortunes

QB Jake Bentley talking about spring football. USC Athletics image.

It seems like only yesterday when Jake Bentley took his first snap as quarterback for the University of South Carolina.

Preparing for his junior season with the Gamecocks, like his teammates, he is participating in spring practice optimistic USC is ready to accomplish something special on the football field.

“It’s really a different atmosphere in practice so far,” said Bentley. “The guys are really just excited about what’s to come. Oh man, we’re getting schemed out and everything. It’s exciting.”

Following a come-from-behind victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl, Bentley and company finished the season with a 9-4 record in Will Muschamp’s second season as coach.

Despite the improvement, there is more to accomplish. New offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon is revamping the scheme.
Veteran coach Dan Werner has been hired to coach quarterbacks. Bentley is excited about what he can add to the offense.

“It is always great to have a different way of saying things, the same teaching points, but maybe Coach Werner presents things a different way and it’s easier to understand it,” said Bentley. “It is great to have him. He’s very knowledgeable. He has a lot of experience in football. It’s been great to pick his brain — fresher eyes, just a different way to learn the same thing. Maybe it hits your brain a different way.”

Bentley’s dad, USC running backs coach Bobby Bentley, coached his son during the Outback Bowl.
While that was both an exciting and emotional experience, the elder Bentley believes his son can learn a lot from Werner.

“I think coach (Muschamp) thought he made the best decision for the program,” he said. “You bring a guy like Dan in, a guy with a lot of knowledge, and we’ve done a good job with running backs kind of flipping the room. I think he was wanting to go that route and keep me at running backs.”

Like his dad, Jake is on board with the changes on the offensive side of the football and is busy getting on the same page with McClendon and Werner.

“The biggest thing for us is having a relationship outside of football, a couple recruiting outings or getting together for lunch,” Bentley said of Werner. “Getting to know him off the field has made for a better relationship on the field.

“I believe in coach Muschamp and coach McClendon and what they have in store for us. They brought in coach Werner so I’m listening to everything he has to say.”

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