ATLANTA — When Jake Bentley approaches the line of scrimmage this season, he won’t have as much time to read defenses as he did in prior seasons.
“But seeing a little may also be like seeing a lot,” the South Carolina quarterback said. “If you see too much on the field, you’re not going to be able to pick out anything you need … I think it’s better, because you’re not worried about what else can happen.
“… I definitely think going faster is better.”
On Thursday, Bentley spoke with national and local reporters during his SEC Media Days session at the Omni Atlanta Hotel, and the Gamecocks’ new RPO [run-pass option] up-tempo offense was a major topic of discussion.
Bentley said the new scheme, which will emphasize run-pass options and an up-tempo attack, takes any opportunities to overthink out of the way.
“When you’re going fast, you get the play, you read the defense and you go,” Bentley said. “You don’t think about too much. You don’t think about what else can happen. You just play. And I feel I play a lot better like that.”
The 6-foot-4, 224-pounder said run-pass options stretch out defenses and give defensive coordinators more to think about.
“The way it works with RPO, you want a defense to never be right,” Bentley said.
Bentley said probably “75 percent” of the time the Gamecocks run the ball, there will have been a pass option on the play.
Bentley’s working relationship with new offensive coordinator Bryan McClendon and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner will be paramount.
“It’s been great. His mind set is so aggressive,” Bentley said of McClendon, who was the receivers coach/co-offensive coordinator last season. “I love it. I love when we throw the football, because he wants to score as many points as he can.”
Despite throwing 18 touchdowns last season, he threw 12 interceptions. He threw two touchdowns and seven interceptions combined against Georgia, Clemson and Florida.
“It was a culmination of a lot of stuff. Part of it was definitely trying to force too much, trying to get something going that maybe wasn’t there,” Bentley said. “… Technically and mechanically, I can fix some stuff. But it’s been a great learning experience going back and watching all the interceptions from last year and learning from them.”
SC receiver Deebo Samuel believes Bentley is the man to lead the offense.
“You get the same thing off the field that you get on the field. You get a leader, you get a hard worker, you get a guy who loves the game,” Samuel said. “Jake is a really good guy and he is also a good quarterback and he controls the offense.”
Here's more of what Bentley said...
On new quarterbacks coach Dan Werner:
He came in and kind of just looked at the whole film and thought I could use some foot work, just clean it up a little bit, just mechanically, just working on some things too. It has been really fun to work with him.
On Tori Gurley guaranteeing a South Carolina win over Georgia:
He loves his Gamecocks. I mean, he’s in there all the time. Awesome dude … It’s fine with me [if a former Gamecock gives Georgia bulletin board material]. He’s a guy that’s very passionate about the Gamecocks. I sure if you ask a former Georgia player that hopefully they’ll say the same thing. I’m just glad he’s still around still supporting.
On the Gamecocks’ receivers:
We’re so versatile. There are so many guys who can attack you in so many different ways. Being able to be multiple, in different formations, with coach McClendon, I think is going to help us a lot, with getting the matchups that we want.
[Deebo and Bryan Edwards], when you look at them, they present a different skillset. They’re two guys that are very competitive and want the ball in their hands every play. That’s what you want in a receiver. I love throwing to those guys, because I trust them.
On the Gamecocks’ running backs:
They’re great. It’s a group that wants each other to be the best that they can be. You see them in the weight room and Rico’s pushing A.J. to put more on the squat rack. Or A.J. is pushing Ty’Son to do this, or Ty’Son is pushing Mon. All these guys push each other, and I think you’re going to see during the season, one of them is going to score, and then all the other running backs are going to be the first ones to celebrate with them.