Clemson University

Jake Bentley, improved USC offense have the attention of Clemson’s defense

Clemson DC Brent Venables previews South Carolina

Venables impressed by Gamecocks offense
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Venables impressed by Gamecocks offense

Clemson has been able to hold Jake Bentley and the South Carolina offense in check over the past couple of years under Tigers defensive coordinator Brent Venables.

In two games against Clemson, Bentley is 23-for-46 passing for 167 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

Venables, however, sees an improved Bentley on film in 2018 and believes that slowing down the junior quarterback will be no easy task Saturday night at Death Valley.

“I see a guy that’s got a real talented arm. He can make all the throws. He’s got some moxie to him. I think he’s a winner,” Venables said. “He’s won his whole life and he’s a confident guy and he’s got really, really good players around him... That’s kind of what I see with Jake.”

Bentley has been playing particularly well as of late as South Carolina has won three of its past four games, with the only loss coming on the road at Florida.

Over the past five games dating back to USC’s matchup against Texas A&M on Oct. 13, Bentley has 12 touchdown passes with three interceptions.

Venables said one reason Bentley’s stats have been better lately is because South Carolina’s playmakers are playing better around him.

“I think the No. 1 thing is making layups, doing the little things well... you drop balls, you miss the layups that are just easy pitch and catches, then it’s hard to do anything right when you’re doing those things not real well. So probably that as much as anything,” Venables said. “They’re looking like they have a lot of cohesion and understanding of who they want to be and sometimes that takes a little bit of time too to develop that identity on both sides of the ball.”

South Carolina has a new offensive coordinator this season in Bryan McClendon, which could be the reason it took the Gamecocks’ offense some time to hit its stride.

USC has scored more than 30 points six times this season, including each of the past three games.

The most points the Tigers have allowed this year is 26.

“I think you can see a real cohesion and identity and consistency probably a little over the last month where they really are in a good rhythm and know what they’re doing, who they want to be and playing well,” Venables said. “They do a good job getting the ball to their playmakers and establishing an identity. They’ve got excellent skill and a well-coached offensive line and Bentley’s been really playing well, particularly here the last three, four, five games.”

Tigers linebacker Shaq Smith has also been impressed by Bentley and the USC offense as he has watched film.

“He’s a phenomenal player,” Smith said. “He has been since he’s gotten there. He doesn’t have a lot of flaws. We definitely have to game him up very good.”

Jake Bentley reflects on the 49-9 victory over Chattanooga and looks forward to the Gamecocks' next game against rival Clemson.

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