USC Gamecocks Football

Why South Carolina moved its offensive coordinator on game day

Jake Bentley, USC offense bounce back with a complete effort

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley recaps the Gamecocks' win over Tennessee.
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South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley recaps the Gamecocks' win over Tennessee.

To hear South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp tell it, Bryan McClendon asked for the change.

The Gamecocks’ offensive coordinator is in his first year in the role, learning the ins and outs of the job. But there had been some issues with his position group, and he offered a solution.

“We haven’t been as productive at the receiver position in our first six ballgames, for whatever reason,” Muschamp said. “Bryan came to me and said, ‘I feel like me going down on the field may calm them down some between some reps.’

“I agreed with him.”

So McClendon spent Saturday against Tennessee calling plays from the field. Drops have plagued his top receivers. Outside one difficult one on a deep ball to Shi Smith against the Vols, the group did pretty well in the 27-24 victory.

The change required a few moving pieces. Tight ends coach Pat Washington replaced McClendon in the box, and it was imperative for Washington and quarterbacks coach Dan Werner to be able to be the eyes up there, seeing the whole field (Werner has plenty of coordinator experience himself).

It wasn’t the first time McClendon worked from the field. Against Missouri, headset malfunctions forced him to sprint from the box to the field. Muschamp liked the way he called the game from there and figured if he could see things well, it could work.

Edwards, who hauled in a deep ball for 73 yards, said there was something nice about having his position coach right there, as he’d been the previous two seasons.

“It’s always good to have coach McClendon on the sideline,” Edwards said. “He’s always that voice in our ear, and he’s great at keeping us calm and keeping us in the moment and keeping us in the situation.”

South Carolina defeated Tennessee 27-24 on Saturday night.