South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley has a philosophy about the day-to-day.
He’s in a peculiar position. Had everything gone the way it was supposed to, he’d be working to pick up a college scheme, coming off his first spring practice as an early enrollee.
Instead he’s the starting quarterback of an offense that’s getting a little offseason buzz, and a leader with all eyes on him in a locker room. He’s never been shy about throwing a fist pump or showing some exuberance on the field, but he wants it to go beyond that.
“If you only show the passion on gameday, or when people see you, my teammates are going to see through that,” Bentley said. “I pride myself on bringing the energy every day, whether it’s a workout or meeting or at practice. So I think it’s infectious to the whole team.”
He admitted his role this year is going to be different. He’s a leader, a known quantity (it looked liked he’d redshirt through most of the first half of 2016). There’s more pressure because this is no longer a USC team picking up the pieces after the Spurrier-to-Muschamp transition.
In short, folks will expect more this go-round.
In seven games, Bentley threw for 1,420 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions, completing 65.8 percent of his passes. He’d been the third-string quarterback before that, meaning few practice reps until the week he was called up
That’s not much experience, but it’s something to build on for a young leader everyone’s looking to.
“When they see me or any of the guys just being real passionate, running over somebody for a few extra yards or just getting excited, it can be really infectious,” Bentley said. “I try to do that every day.”