By Jeff Owens/Photo by Allen Sharpe
South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley was already excited about the vast amount of weapons available to him on the Gamecock offense.
He's even more excited after what he saw in the first full-squad scrimmage of training camp on Saturday.
"It was evident that we have a lot of weapons on offense, and it is going to be fun to move them around in different ways and in more creative ways than we are doing," Bentley said Tuesday.
Though no stats or details have been released from the closed scrimmage, Bentley made two outstanding throws to wide receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end Hayden Hurst for big plays.
"He threw a pretty big bomb to Deebo," tight end Jacob August said. "That was pretty exciting. You know how Jake gets after those plays. He's running down the field fist-pumping and screaming as loud as he can."
Bentley said those plays were examples of the talent he has around him and the potential of the offense.
"We got a good look form the defense and there were two outstanding catches, too," he said. "Hayden was up the sideline and Deebo was just a deep post over the middle. Just using those weapons that I have around me. All I have to do is put some air under the ball and they will go get it for me. It was outstanding catches by them and great play calls."
A big part of the offense will feature moving players like Samuel and Hayden around and using them in different spots to get them open and create mismatches. Samuel led the team in receiving and all-purpose yards last season and scored nine touchdowns in a variety of ways. Hurst set a school record for receptions and yards by a tight end.
Asked how many different positions Samuel will play, Bentley said, "Everywhere, probably. He will probably line up at quarterback a few plays," he joked.
"He's a guy we are going to move around everywhere in our offense and get him the ball however we can."
Bentley was also impressed with the Gamecock defense, which has shown improvement throughout camp.
"The energy that they have right now has been great," Bentley said. "They are really getting after it. The D-line has really stepped up, getting some pressure and using some different stunts and blitzes to really get some pressure. They have brought the energy and the secondary is doing a great job. They are mixing up coverages and trying to disguise different things. They look good."
But no one in camp has drawn higher praise from coaches and his teammates than Bentley, the sophomore quarterback who started seven games as a true freshman last season. Head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper have praised Bentley's command of the offense and leadership.
"He's playing really good," August said. "He's really learning the playbook more and more. He's really figuring stuff out and he's applying it to the game."
After 13 practices, Bentley is pleased with the progress of the offense.
"There is a lot of stuff we need to work on and a lot of stuff we need to improve, just the flow of the game, managing the play clock, alignment stuff, playing fast. But overall, I thought we did pretty good," he said.
"We were locked in and ready to go. The whole team is really focused right now and really getting after it and really locked in to what we want to do and how we want to do it."