How Jake Bentley plans to prepare for Clemson game
South Carolina’s defense will face off with a freshman quarterback this week.
But against Clemson and Trevor Lawrence, that doesn’t help the Gamecocks much.
Lawrence was the No. 1 recruit in last year’s class, the one whose talent shined so bright, it was almost a forgone conclusion in the offseason he’d surpass a senior with a 12-2 record as a starter. After splitting reps, he took over the job and left quite an impression on Muschamp, who will have to try to slow him at 7 p.m. Saturday in Death Valley.
“Trevor Lawrence is playing at a very high level,” Muschamp said. “Mature beyond his years. Really accurate with the football, taking the ball to the right spots and taking care of the ball. Just doing some things beyond his years there.”
That last part is notable because he’s got just about all the talent one could want in a quarterback. At 6-foot-5, 216 pounds, he spins about as pretty a ball as one will see.
The likely future first-round NFL Draft pick has thrown for 2,095 yards, 21 scores and only four interceptions, despite not getting a full game under his belt until Clemson’s sixth contest (he split time for the first four and got hurt in the fifth).
USC will try to match him with a pass defense that is banged up to the point of playing a walk-on safety all game against Chattanooga as it held out injured players. At the moment, the No. 3 safety is a starting nickel and No. 4 is a starting corner. Overall, USC’s pass defense has held on by preventing big plays.
That might force some patience from the young passer, but he’s shown some in spots. He also stepped into an offense that started the year around a true running quarterback and still fit in seamlessly.
“I don’t know that there’s been a huge shift as far as who they are and what they do,” Muschamp said. “They’ve got a lot of confidence in Trevor, obviously, and they should, he’s a good player.”