Jake Bentley talks about his final spring practices, updates his progress
If nothing else, Jake Bentley’s junior season at South Carolina was a rocky one.
At one point he led the SEC in interceptions. He was booed as he went to the locker room for halftime at Texas A&M. He admits he pressed at points. But now he says he feels calmer as he looks toward a final season in Garnet and Black.
And as he prepares, he falls back on a lesson passed down from his brother Chas Dodd.
“You never want to look back and say I wish I would’ve done that,” Bentley said. “That’s one thing I learned from Chas. When he played at Rutgers, he always told me, he wished he would’ve said more, done some more stuff here, said something to this guy, and maybe it would’ve changed things.
“I don’t want to look back and say I wish I would’ve done something else.”
Dodd is now a strength staffer with the Gamecocks. He hasn’t played college ball since 2013. He played for a pair of head coaches, saw two nine-win seasons and a four-win campaign.
And his career, rocky doesn’t quite do it justice.
“He went through a pretty big quarterback controversy, battle up there at Rutgers all four years,” Bentley said. “So I think for him, the thing I learned from him was just consistency. He never let a bad play or a bad practice, getting put second string one day affect him. He always came in with the right mindset to do what he needed to do, lead the best way he could.”
Dodd started between three and eight games in three of his four years in New Jersey (being a backup his junior year). As a freshman, he wrested the job from Tom Savage, starting the final eight games.
The next fall, he opened and closed the season as a starter, but Gary Nova started five games in the middle of the year. After a season backing up Nova, Dodd was on the bench for the first 10 games as a senior, only to start the final three and throw for 600 yards.
Bentley’s career has at least been smoother than that. Like his brother, he got the starting job in the middle of his freshman season. But Bentley held onto it, starting every game (when healthy since. He’s within striking distance of more than a few major records, including the career yardage and touchdown marks.
He’ll go into his final season as the clearly established starter. He’s got his dad Bobby on staff and Dodd as well. But that lesson, the calm needed in that sort of tumult, still carries over from his brother.
“He was 12 hours from home, didn’t have a lot of family close to him,” Jake Bentley said. “But still put his head down and kept working.”