Dan Werner “Quarterback Whisper” prepared to help USC’s offense
It didn’t take long for Dan Werner to decide the University of South Carolina was the place to continue his football coaching career.
Since making the move to Columbia, the man who has been described as “The Quarterback Whisperer” has hit the ground running.
“I met with (USC coach) Will (Muschamp) before I took the job,” said Werner. “He presented what was happening here with the recruiting, how they played last year, the fact that we’ve got a bunch of guys coming back. You could see what the offense looks like and you could see they’ve got playmakers, along with a quarterback who has played.
“Then, once I came to visit and saw the direction of the program with the new facilities. It was like a snow ball effect. I see great things happening here.”
With Bryan McClendon taking over as USC’s offensive coordinator, the Gamecocks are employing a fast pace attack next season.
Werner, one of the foremost experts on the up-tempo attack, is ready to impart his wisdom wherever it’s needed. Despite spending most of his career as an offensive coordinator, working with McClendon and the remainder of the staff has been seamless.
“He’s been great,” Werner said of McClendon. “I’ve been a coordinator for a long time. I haven’t worked for someone for a long time. I was a little leery about that. But, once I saw his philosophy, I felt he and I could work together really well. It’s been great.”
Credited with the development of Mississippi quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Chad Kelly, Werner’s job is making sure the Gamecock quarterbacks, including starter Jake Bentley, are prepared to make the new system work.
He has been pleased with what he’s seen.
“I love him,” Werner said of Bentley. “If it was up to him, he’d live in this building. He’s up here all the time working out, watching film and just picking (the coaches) brains. This is the type of guy you want playing that position.
“I don’t like to compare (with other quarterbacks). I want to wait and see how he plays. But, when it comes to the work ethic, he’s right up there the best guys I’ve ever coached.”
Bentley enjoys working with his new position coach.
“I don’ think coach Werner has raised his voice one time,” said Bentley. “He’s a real laid-back guy. He really just observes everything and is a very detailed guy, very detailed oriented in the meeting rooms. He’s very smart. At practice he kind of sits back and watches what we do and then really breaks it down in the film room. Obviously, he coaches in the field, too.”
Despite helping offenses set records at Mississippi and Miami (Fla.), Werner has not always been a proponent of the up tempt offensive style.
After talking and studying several experts, he began to employ the offense after making his own adjustment.
“I took a year off and just traveled around,” said Werner. “I visited, too many (schools/coaches) to mention. But, at that time, a lot of teams were running the spread. You had anything from the teams running the spread that would pass every single down and the ones that were going run every down with the quarterback running it.
“I sort of formulated my own little plan. I wanted to get a mix. I wanted a Pro Style passing attack, but I wanted the spread style run stuff. Then RPOs (run/pass option) just started coming along. Nobody was even running them when I started the spread stuff. It just sort of evolved into what it is now.”